Huge crowds attended the first Damascus International Fair since 2011
Huge crowds attended the first Damascus International Fair since 2011

‘EVERYTHING related to the destiny and future of Syria is a 100% Syrian issue. The unity of Syrian territory is self-evident and not up for debate,’ says President Bashar al-Assad.

President Assad said that throughout history, Syria has been a target, and those who control this target gain great control over decision-making in the Middle East, and those who control decision-making in the Middle East will have important and influential say on the international arena.

In a speech delivered at the opening of the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry Conference on Sunday, President al-Assad said that the West is currently experiencing an existential presence whenever it feels that a state wants to share its role.

His Excellency said that the Ministry Conference is an important opportunity for exchanging expertise and ideas, discuss the state’s future policies, and propose ideas for developing the Foreign Ministry to make it more effective in carrying out its duties.

He pointed out this Conference’s importance due to the very rapid dynamics of the events in the world, the region, and Syria in particular. ‘Talking about foiling the Western project doesn’t mean we are victorious; the battle is still going on, and the signs of victory are there, but victory itself is another thing,’ President al-Assad said.

He said that the deep regime in the United States doesn’t share power with the US President; it only gives him a margin. ‘The price of resistance is much lower than the price of surrender… we paid a dear price in Syria in this war, but we managed to foil the Western project,’ Assad said.

He noted that changes in positions doesn’t mean changes in policies, adding: ‘The West is like a snake, changing its skin according to the situation.’ The Syrian president said: ‘The media and psychological war they practiced during the past years were unable to affect us in fighting terrorism or push us towards fear and hesitation. We struck terrorism since day one, and we will continue to strike it as long as there is a single terrorist in Syria.’

He stressed that ‘fighting terrorism is a goal and the basis for any action we take. We have dealt in a very flexible manner with all initiatives that were proposed despite knowing beforehand that most of them were based on bad intentions.

‘Sectarian rhetoric was transient, and what’s on tongues is not important; what’s important is what is in the hearts. If this divisive aspect that we hear about now in different parts of our society was in the hearts, then Syria would have fallen a long time ago, and the civil war that they talk about in Western media and that they tried to convince us about would have been a fait accompli.’

Turning to the role of Turkey, Assad said of its president: ‘Erdogan is playing the role of political beggar after his support for terrorists was exposed. We don’t consider the Turkish side to be a partner nor a guarantor nor do we trust it.’

President al-Assad affirmed that as long as the fight against terrorism is ongoing, there is no place for the idea of a fait accompli or division in Syria, adding that the goal of de-escalation zones is to stop bloodshed, deliver humanitarian aid, removing militants, and restoring the situation to normal.

He pointed out that Russia used the right of veto to defend Syria’s unity and the UN Charter, and China did the same. Our Armed Forces are realising one achievement after another every day, one week after the other, crushing terrorists and clearing the lands desecrated by terrorists,’ Assad said.

He asserted that the valiant heroics of the Syrian Arab Army and supporting forces constitute a role model in the history of wars. Assad added: ‘We will continue in the upcoming stage to crush terrorists everywhere in cooperation with friends, and we will continue national reconciliations that proved their effectiveness, as well as increasing communication with the outside and marketing and economic opportunities. The direct political, economic, and military support of our friends made the possibility of advancing on the ground greater and the losses fewer, and these friends are our actual partners.’

Russia and Iran ‘have made a big input in the successful operations which the Syrian military continues to have against terrorists,’ Syria’s President said. We are proud of the important support from our friends and brothers in the fight against terrorism,’ he said.

‘From the very beginning of the crisis, Iran offered to us economic and military assistance. Russia protected Syria at the Security Council, and then sent over its military, and its servicemen died heroically on the Syrian land. The support of friends, who helped Syria to survive, would be devoted chapters of history textbooks.’

President al-Assad affirmed that Syrian economy has entered the stage of recovery, which might be slow, but it is consistent. He said: ‘We are not in a state of isolation as they think, but this state of arrogance makes them think in that way.

‘There will be no security cooperation or opening of embassies or role for some states that say they are looking for a solution until they cut off their ties with terrorism in a clear and unambiguous way.’

Assad said: ‘Syria’s position to protect the national sovereignty was the reason of the war unleashed against it. Syrians have paid a high price for the failed talks between the West and “brothers-Muslims”, but anyway the resistance price is lower than the price of surrender. The fight is not over, it continues, the beginning humanitarian initiatives have the purpose of achieving what the terrorists could not achieve.’

The Syrian president stressed: ‘We will not allow enemies and rivals to achieve through politics what they failed to achieve through terrorism. We must work seriously from now to build the future Syria on solid bases.

‘Everything related to the destiny and future of Syria is a one hundred per cent Syrian issue, and the unity of Syrian territory is self-evident and not up for debate or discussion,’ President al-Assad affirmed.

• A meeting was held on Saturday in Wadi Barada area in Damascus countryside during which 93 persons received documents to settle their legal status in the framework of local reconciliations.

Damascus Countryside Governor Alaa Munir Ibrahim said that the legal status of a number of locals from Huraira village in Wadi Barada area have been settled so that they can return to their normal lives as per the amnesty decree No.15 for 2016.

• After a five year cancellation because of the global war launched against Syria since 2011, the Damascus International Fair reopened, launching its 59th session. Forty-five countries have raised their flags in Damascus and joined this historic city in celebration.

Challenging the war and the sanctions, this occasion has the value of being an economic, cultural, social and artistic demonstration. Among the 23 countries who officially have joined the Fair are Russia, Iran, Iraq, China, and Venezuela.

Dr Bouthina Sha’aban the senior presidential advisor expressed that the re-holding of this exhibition is a symbol to the military and political route, and it implies that the war is over and that we defeated the project of others in Syria (meaning the project of destroying Syria). This event is the start of the reconstruction and rebuilding of Syria.

• Armed groupings, which do not observe the ceasefire, on Sunday launched a mortar shell on an exhibition complex near Damascus, where the international trade show continues. The Mortar News in Damascus Facebook page that tracks violence in the capital reported that the shell hit the entrance of the Damascus International Fair killing four and wounding four others. A journalist working for state media confirmed the shelling saying it left ‘several people martyred or wounded’.