The Friends of Syria nations that support regime change meet in Morocco on Wednesday for the first time since the creation of a new opposition coalition seeking wider international recognition. Voice of Russia spoke to the Director of the Damascus Research Centre Bassam Abu Abdullah about this upcoming event. He called this meeting the meeting of Syria’s enemies and not friends.
FS: The Friends of Syria are going to meet on December 12 in Morocco. According to Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, the participants of the meeting will discuss humanitarian assistance to Syria, the new opposition coalition and its recognition, and so on. How can you describe this meeting in Morocco in the context of political pressure on Syria?
BA: First of all, this will not be the meeting of Syria’s friends, but of its enemies! Secondly, this Friends of Syria meeting once numbered 134 countries, and now there are 65 countries. Thirdly, this gathering is the military nucleus, consisting of countries headed by the US and the Persian Gulf countries, who threaten Syria and the Syrian people. Their goal is to destroy the country by force and use its strategic geographical location for their own purposes. Fourthly, their talking about the humanitarian aid for Syria is one big lie. Most likely, they will discuss new sanctions against Syria connected to its relations with the Persian Gulf countries. It’s not the first time that Saudi Arabia and a number of neighbouring countries try to undermine the stability of the Syrian pound. They will also discuss the support of the armed militants.
FS: There is information that the Syrian militants have made great progress. For instance, they claim they captured many military bases, heavy artillery and so on. Is it an exaggeration, or is it not true at all?
BA: This is another attempt to raise the fighting mood of the militants with the help of mass media. The seizure of one tank means nothing in the context of such a war. They suffer hundreds of times more losses, but al Jazeera and al Arabiya are keeping silence about this. And as soon as one regular army soldier is killed, they boost, as if they have won a victory over a whole military unit. The only problem of the Syrian army is the infinite number of suicide bombers.
FS: Active deployment of the Patriot missiles is underway on the Syrian border with Turkey. All this is happening against the background of the campaign against the Syrian army’s supposed use of chemical weapons. Thus, even if Syria defends itself against the military invasion with the use of conventional arsenal, it will not be able to repel the attack of the Patriots. Is this just another type of informational pressure on Syria, or does it mean something else?
BA: There are two possible scenarios. According to the first scenario, it is information pressure. But we have officially declared many times that we were not going to use chemical weapons, and Putin and other officials have confirmed this. There is no need at all for the Syrian army to use chemical weapons as it copes with its task of destroying the militants even with the help of light artillery. But there is a different scenario: some military sources inform that gas masks are often found on the militants. This indicates the possibility of the use of chemical weapons by the militants in order to accuse the Syrian regime of doing this. But be that as it may, Syria is capable of repelling both the invasion of the fighters and military intervention from abroad.
FS: Moscow will not be participating in the upcoming meeting. But it is offering a number of methods aimed at peaceful settlement of the conflict. At the same time, the West is offering nothing except Bashar al-Assad’s resignation.
BA: Many interested parties little by little agree with Russia’s suggestions, because these proposals are objective and can really help Syria. Their decisions are not based on personal benefits, but on the interests of the Syrian people, and they include the solving of all the issues by means of negotiations, proposals, fair elections and so on. And this is the kind of democracy, which the West has forgotten.