Press TV has conducted an interview with political commentator Ibrahim Moussawi to discuss the recent victory by the Syrian army in retaking full control of the town of Yabroud, near the Lebanese border, from the foreign-backed militants in Syria.
Below is a rush transcript of that interview.
Press TV: Let’s look at the significance of it from a military perspective, this victory in Yabroud. How do you see it?
Moussawi: It is a very important strategic achievement. No one can argue about it. This is something that everybody in every spectrum, on any side of the equation is going to say that this is a very important, very significant military accomplishment, achievement that the Syrian army has been able to do significantly in a very swift and a very fast time. It was not expected that the defense lines of the Takfiri groups and the different militant groups, it’s worthwhile mentioning that in Yabroud, you have the multitude and you have the diverse military groups fighting in Syria. You have foreign fighters. You have the al-Nusra Front. Everybody is there actually. So, every walk of the militant groups exist there and they have always been making this kind of propaganda and psychological warfare that they are there, it is going to be a cemetery for the Syrian army, through other things. That’s going to come. So I believe in this sense, it’s very important.
Press TV: What does it mean now that this victory has taken place for Damascus?
Moussawi: This is very important. It is consolidating the grip of the government over the different territories. Now, starting with the fourth year of the crisis in Syria, we know very well that the Syrian army and the Syrian government, regardless of all of the support coming from the different parts of the world, especially from the United States, from the gulf countries to the Takfiri goups, regardless of all of the use of sophisticated weapons that they have been supplied with, the Syrian amy has been able to make this significant achievement at a very important, sensitive juncture of history, at the very beginning of the fourth year, after the Geneva II, and just two or three months before the presidential elections that will take place in Syria.
Press TV: What do you think Mr. Moussawi? You’re sitting in Beirut. Do you think that with the taking of Yabrud by Syrian forces that it’s going to make the situation worse in Lebanon?
Moussawi: Well, from a political perspective, a purely political, theoretical, point of view, I believe Mr. Nashashibi is right. But taken and given the situation in Lebanon, if we are going to talk about the technicalities and logistics, I believe the capturing of Yabroud is going to tighten the grip and I believe it would be more difficult for them. It would have been easier for them to work, if they had Yabroud always within their hands.
What I think simply is that the decision has been taken by these Takfiri groups in order to attack the Lebanese people, all those who do not favor their arguments or their point of views. They would always attack and do anything to target the Lebanese people, the army, everyone. But I believe it’s contrary. I believe maybe you would have more terrorist attacks, suicidal attacks, but this does not mean in any way that they have the upper hand. I believe it’s more difficult for them to carry any aggression, but we do not say that this is not going to happen. But logistically wise, it’s going to be more difficult for them to carry any aggression and I don’t believe that the situation is going to worsen already more than it already is.
I believe they are going to be cut off from strategic supply whether it is Lebanon or Syria and we have to remember my understanding is that yes it is bordering Lebanon. It is very important. It is going to have its own positive results towards Lebanon.
But the most important result has to do with Syria, with the capital, Damascus, because this is a very strategic place that was hostile towards Damascus. Yes, it’s 80 kilometers to the north of it, but it was more or less responsible for cutting off the main road between Aleppo and Damascus. This way I believe it has become safe 100 percent.
Press TV: Your take on the comments from our guest in London.
Moussawi: This is very ironic. I mean you’re talking about an area is adjacent bordering Lebanon. You’re talking about an area that has been used as a reservoir in order to send booby-trapped cars to Lebanon. You’re talking about an area that hundreds of Lebanese were killed or wounded because of this place where terrorists equip and send the booby-trapped cars and the suicide bombers to Lebanon and the capital to target the civilians.
We cannot make any kind of comparison between Syria and certain Lebanese fighting there, adjacent and bordering because they were threatened, because they were killed and with more than 80 nationalities coming from across the four corners of the world to fight in Syria. You talk about Chechens. You talk about Turks. You talk about Saudis. You talk about Qataris. You talk about Tunisians. You talk about Libyans. They all came to fight and here I don’t believe it would be transparent, it wouldn’t be very precise to talk about double standards and inconsistency.
First everybody recognizes the Syrian government and Bashar al-Assad as the true representative in the international community. I’m not talking about Turkey or Saudi Arabia, but here according to estimates, to polls by the United States, by the intelligence, by everybody if Bashar al-Assad goes tomorrow to be nominated for a president he is going to be elected. This is not our estimates; this is the estimates of everybody. So no way you can compare between a government that is asking for anyone to help. It is the legitimate government and between groups coming from across the world in order to fight, they are Takfiris, they have their own agendas. They are setting their own standards of how to behave and how to eat and how to drink and what to do and what not to do. I believe this is unfair and this is unjust to make such a comparison at this point.
Press TV: Mr. Moussawi, your take on what our guest said in London.
Moussawi: Well, it seems he’s being gravely and majorly misled. I don’t know how, I don’t want to say that he’s being brainwashed, but I am afraid that when he says that the situation in Lebanon has worsened because of Hezbollah’s interference, he’s not someone who lives here or is highly learned or educated about what happened. He has to live in Qusayr and the area. You’re not educated about the situation in Lebanon. I’m not talking about you in person. I have more respect to you, but I’m telling you about very delicate and detailed things in the Qusayr area and the Hermel area.
They have attacked the area, the order, three or four times and they have massacred many people in the area and they have kidnapped so many people. We’ve had so many gentlemen [seek an] agreement with they have not respected this. We called upon them, if you don’t know, there have been a lot of mediations where we have told them you should stop at one area, and you shouldn’t attack the Lebanese territories. They continued to do that. They threatened, it was in 2011. I can tell you go to Aljazeera, for example. One of the deputies in the opposition said that Hezbollah is fighting and killing in Daraya. This was in 2011. Hezbollah interfered in 2013 in the Qusayr area in the Lebanese border. So they were preparing the whole ground in order to get rid of Hezbollah. This is something that we heard. It’s also documented that they were going to go after Hezbollah after they finish because they believe that it would take months before they can get rid of the regime. This is what they believe, but it didn’t work.
The other thing that I want to draw his attention to when he says that the continuation of the crisis has to do with the backers, I totally agree with you, but not our side. Not the Iranians. Because we have always and we continue seek a diplomatic a political resolution for the crisis and not a military one and to tell you, you should know if Hezbollah wants to interfere militarily, we have the capacity to interfere in long-range place, but it’s not something that we are trying to do or we want to do.
Press TV: What will it take to bring the situation to an end this crisis to an end in Syria?
Moussawi: Well, I believe simply that things are going to be better in the future. I mean, according to our understanding, no one wants a military clash-out. We are talking about there should be a political solution, a political resolution for the problem. People should come and sit together, the true, the genuine representative of the Syrian people. The interference of Hezbollah and Iran, they have always believed in a political solution and they are supporting the Syrian people by the way, not the Takfiri groups, the groups coming from different parts, the Nusra, I don’t know who. You can talk about hundreds of different militant groups coming to Syria being supported by the Gulf countries. And I believe your other guest supports these Takfiri groups and he believes in their ideals. In massacring the people.