Syria Offers Coalition To Combat Isis!

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DAMASCUS – Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem, said in Damascus that Syria is prepared to cooperate and coordinate on the regional and international levels to combat terrorism as per Security Council resolution no. 2170 within the framework of respecting Syria’s sovereignty and independence.

In a press conference on Monday, al-Moallem said that cooperation should be carried out through the Syrian government which ‘is a symbol of national sovereignty, and this complies with the first article in the resolution which does not authorise anyone to act alone against any country, asserting the Syrian government’s readiness for regional and international cooperation either via an international or regional coalition or bilateral cooperation with those who want, as long as this cooperation is approached in a serious manner without double standards.

‘It makes no sense for there to be tireless efforts to weaken Syria, besiege it economically, and besiege its army which is confronting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organisation on Syrian soil at the same time when others claim to be combating terrorism, asserting that any breach of Syrian sovereignty by any side constitutes an act of aggression.’

He stressed that air raids alone will not eliminate ISIS or Jabhat al-Nusra, and that before that the sources of terrorism must be dried up and neighbouring countries must commit to controlling their borders, exchange security information with the Syrian government, and stop arming and funding terrorists.

‘Being serious in combating terrorism isn’t achieved by transgressing against others’ sovereignty; it is achieved through serious political work to dry up its sources and cooperating with the Syrian government, because we know better than anyone else what is happening on our land; then comes international joint action to combat terrorism,’ al-Moallem said.

The Minister said that Syria welcomes resolution no. 2170 and is committed to it, despite the fact that this decision came late, noting that the consensus at the Security Council on combating terrorism is in line with Syria’s calls for drying up the sources of terrorism and for stopping the funding, training, arming, harbouring, and smuggling of terrorists through borders with neighbouring countries.

Al-Moallem said that Syria hopes that all countries will commit to the Security Council resolution which came under Chapter Seven and is binding for all sides, welcoming all those who commit to it, adding that the most significant thing about this resolution is that it reaffirms previous resolutions on counter-terrorism and reasserts the independence, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria, in addition to respecting the UN Charter and principles of respecting national sovereignty and independence, reiterating that terrorism in all its forms and aspects constitutes one of the gravest threats to international peace and security, and affirming that all acts of terrorism are criminal acts that are unjustified no matter the motivation behind them and regardless of when they were committed or by whom.

He added that there are other points to consider in the resolution that confirm the correctness of Syria’s position, as the resolution states that even the instigation of terrorism and terrorist mentality must be prevented and its exporters – who are well known – must be stopped, along with addressing the basis on which the mentality of ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organisations are built.

Al-Moallem said that there are several articles in the resolution which discuss preventing the funding of terrorists and stopping the importation of foreign fighters who are sent across borders to Syria and Iraq, as well as stopping harmful activities in educational, cultural, and religious establishments, stressing that this resolution is binding for all Security Council members.

‘The question that poses itself today is, after the resolution was issued on August 15th and today we’re near the end of the month, did we see a real and serious international movement to implement this resolution?’ he asked.

Al-Moallem noted that a week ago, Washington Post published an interview with an ISIS leader in which he said that the cooperation between ISIS and Turkey is strong, and that when they go to Turkey they ‘roll out the red carpet’ for them and treat their wounded.

‘Does this come within the framework of Security Council resolution no. 2170?’ Al-Moallem wondered.

The Minister said that a US journalist abducted by Jabhat al-Nusra was released a day ago, and Syria welcomes his release, but a statement was issued by the Qatari foreign ministry claiming that Qatari efforts led to his release, which leads to the conclusion that these efforts were linked to Jabhat al-Nusra, adding that a German minister also made a statement recently in which he said that Germany has information indicating that Qatar funds Jabhat al-Nusra.

Al-Moallem said that any counterterrorism effort must be done through coordination with the Syrian government which represents sovereignty, and that Syria now is holding the international community responsible for implementing the Security Council resolution, adding that Syria wants to see true commitment to implementing it by all countries, particularly those neighbouring Syria, and this position will form the basis of the actions of Syrian diplomacy in the coming stage.

Responding to a question on what Syria is expecting now from the west which it has accused repeatedly of encouraging terrorism, al-Moallem said that Syria judges tangible actions, and that Syria has documents on who is arming and funding terrorists in Syria and therefore Syria’s political and media positions reflected that, and these positions will remain the same until the West proves otherwise through an actual shift, not in words but in actions.

Al-Moallem said the coming days will judge how serious countries are about combating terrorism and implementing the Security Council resolution, something which is yet to be seen, noting that the idea of classifying terrorists as ‘moderate’ and ‘non-moderate’ is laughable, as all those who bear arms against the Syrian state are terrorists, and all those who murder an innocent Syrian citizen –whether that citizen is a civilian or a member of the armed forces – are terrorists.

In this context, he pointed out to the reconciliations carried out by the Syrian government in several areas to unify Syrians against terrorism, stressing that the Syrian government is responsible for every single Syrian citizen regardless of where they live, adding ‘clans in northern Syria took a patriotic and heroic stance which they are now paying for, and we stand alongside them and hope that the rest of the Syrian and Iraqi clans will take similar stances.’

On coordination between Syria and the west, al-Moallem said that this coordination hasn’t started yet so it’s impossible to tell where it will lead, saying that had the international community been committed to previous Security Council resolutions on counterterrorism, then the situation wouldn’t have reached its current state, adding that the limits of cooperation depend on international sides and this issue will be approached according to Syrian national interests.

Regarding Syria’s position in the international coalition for combatting terrorism, al-Moallem said that it’s natural in terms of geography, practicality, and operations for Syria to be the centre of this coalition, adding ‘or will they fight ISIS with telescopes? They must come to Syria to coordinate with it to combat ISIS and al-Nusra if they’re serious about doing so.’