President Assad: Syria’s Enemies Trying to Ignite Sectarian Rift

China Daily

DAMASCUS – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Sunday his country is not facing a political crisis but rather a project of sedition and a real war that aims at destroying the homeland, stressing that there would be no letup in fighting terrorism.

Addressing the new parliament Sunday, Assad said “We are facing a real war,” adding that dealing with a real war differs from dealing with internal issues. He said the weapon of the sedition campaign against Syria is terrorism.

The embattled Syrian leader stressed that the political process is moving forward in Syria but stressed that terrorism is also moving unabatedly.

Assad said that the delicate circumstances the country is going through require more audacity, solidity and sense of responsibility. He noted that the regional role has proven its failure regarding the Syrian crisis.

The president said the door for dialogue is open, stressing readiness to embark on a dialogue. He, however, made it clear that there would be no letup in fighting terrorism.

Assad said Syria’s doors are wide open to whomsoever wants a genuine reform, a truthful dialogue, and their hearts are also open to engage every sincere Syrian citizen in the process of raising up the state.

“By reforms we can confront a big part of the assault on Syria,” he said, adding that “after a year and a half since the start of the crisis, matters have become clear and masks have been removed… and the regional role has disclosed itself by itself.”

“There is no justification for terrorism under any pretext and any title… there is no tolerance with terrorism or with whoever that might support it,” he said, adding that the government would not take revenge, either now or in the future.

“The national security is a red line and there would be no tolerance with who might touch on it,” he stressed. “Difference of opinion means richness, but difference on the homeland means destruction.”

Assad said that a battle was imposed on Syria that led to the shed of the Syrian blood, noting that the enemy of Syria is now inside Syria, not on the borders.

He said after the shedding of so much blood, “we are in need of a lot of ration, and need to learn from the people to whom we belong and who are able to decipher the plot since its very beginning.”

Mistakes that occurred from time to time are used by some individuals to exaggerate them and reveal them as a path the government and its institutions espouse in general, the president said.

On the massacre in the central village of Houla near Homs province which left over 100 people dead, almost half of whom were children, Assad said, “we would remain feeling ashamed whenever we recall this brutal crime… the human language is incapable of describing what we saw in Houla.”

“If we don’t feel the pain that squeezes our hearts, as it has happened to me, for the cruel scenes, especially the children, then we are not human beings,” he said, adding that “even monsters don’t commit what we have seen there.”

“Who is the beneficiary?” Assad questioned. “Did the government or its opponents commit the crime before the visit of UN special envoy Kofi Annan to foil this visit?… We know who wants to foil Annan’s plan… It’s irrational.”

“They want to ignite a sectarian rift. We are living in a climate of fraud,” he said, urging all Syrians to prove themselves to be a civilized nation and stand alongside each other.

The massacre has ignited a frenzy of international condemnation that held the Syrian government responsible for the deadly carnage. Opposition activists also held the Syrian army and pro-government militia men, locally known as Shabiha, of being behind the slaughtering.

UN officials have warned that Syria would careen toward a civil war, had the six-point peace plan negotiated by Annan weren’t implemented.

On Saturday, Burhan Ghalioun, leader of Syria’s main opposition party in exile Syrian National Council, said he would welcome an Arab military action in order to end the alleged attacks by government troops.

Ghalioun made the comments before a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in the Qatari capital of Doha, in which the 22- member organization called on the management of the Arabsat and Nilesat satellites to ban the broadcast of Syria’s official and private TVs.

During the meeting which came on the heels of the massacre in Houla, Arab ministers also called on Annan to set a timetable for the implementation of his plan.

The Syrian government has categorically denied any involvement in the killing and accused the armed opposition of staging the bloody massacre in order to call foreign military intervention and condemnation.

In his Sunday address, Assad said the issue is not over reforms or democracy, but to hit Syria’s resisting role, its support of the resistance and its adherence to its rights.


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