MOSCOW (Sputnik) – A meeting on the situation in Syria with the participation of Russia, the United States and regional powers including Saudi Arabia and Turkey will take place on Saturday.
"Before, the so-called American alliance was active here, but its actions seem illusory, they did nothing. IS [Daesh] and al-Nusra [Jabhat Fatah al Sham] were making advances, had large numbers of militants. Moreover, the recruitment of terrorists only intensified. They were getting more and more oil for export via Turkey. But after Russian involvement the territory controlled by the terrorists decreased," Assad told Russia's Komsomolskaya Pravda daily.
"The facts speak for themselves: Russians have changed the balance of ground forces not in favor of terrorists," the Syrian president stressed.
Syria's civil war between government forces and a wide range of insurgents, including opposition groups and terrorists, such as Daesh and Jabhat Fatah al Sham (also known as al-Nusra Front, or Jabhat al-Nusra) has raged for some five years and has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.
Dialogue on Syria Must Include Parties That Can Help Defeat Terrorists
Syrian President Bashar Assad has stressed that dialogue on the resolution of the Syrian crisis must include parties that can really make a difference in the fight against terrorists on the ground.
"The question is not about holding talks with just anybody, but with those who have real influence and can change the situation. Let’s say we gather all the opposition groups, patriotic ones and non-patriotic ones, in Syria and outside of it and let’s say we have agreed with them on everything saying this is a great future for Syria. The question is, who among them will influence the action of terrorists on the ground?"
Assad pointed out that "opposition" is a political term that is currently being freely used in reference to various armed groups that are killing people in Syria. According to Assad, the so-called "opposition" in Syria must be clearly defined.
"We all know that most of these terrorists belong to organizations linked to al-Qaeda, ISIS [Daesh], al-Nusra [Jabhat Fatah al Sham], Ahrar al-sham that are not political [groups]. They are not interested in any ideology apart from their Wahhabi ideology [ultraconservative Sunni Islam]. That means that any talks with the political opposition will not change the situation."
Russia, which has been supporting Syria’s legitimate authorities, has repeatedly stressed that distinguishing between opposition groups and terrorists in Syria is crucial to the resolution of the internal crisis in Syria. However, the United States, which has sided with the so-called "moderate" Syrian opposition has been reluctant to clearly differentiate between various groups in Syria.