President Bashar al-Assad stressed that the Syrians will not accept that Syria be a puppet state for the West, affirming that this is one of Syria’s key goals and principles.
In excerpts from an interview given to Paris Match magazine, which will be published on Thursday, President al-Assad said “To say that the [anti-ISIS] coalition’s airstrikes are helping us is incorrect.”
“Had these strikes been serious and effective, I would say they would be helpful for sure, but it’s we who are battling against ISIS on the ground, and we haven’t sensed any change, especially since Turkey is still providing direct support to ISIS in those areas,” the President said.
Answering a question on the possibility of reestablishing communication with the current French President Francois Hollande, President al-Assad said that this isn’t an issue of personal relations, but rather an issue of relations between states and establishments and interests between two countries’ people.
“When there is a French official or government that would work for the two countries’ common interests, we would work with it,” he added, stressing that the current French administration is working against the interests of the Syrian people and against the interests of the French people at the same time.
“As for me being his personal opponent, I see no logic in that. I’m not competing against Hollande in anything. I believe that his competitor in France now is ISIS, because his popularity is similar to that of ISIS,” President al-Assad added.
The President said that a captain doesn’t think about life or death but rather about saving the ship, because if the ship sinks, then everybody will die, so the priority is saving the country, asserting that remaining president was never his goal before, during, or after the crisis.