MADRID, February 21. /TASS/. Settlement of the Syrian conflict depends not only on the declaration of ceasefire, Syria’s President Bashar Assad said in an interview the daily El Pais published on Saturday.
"Definitely, we announced that we’re ready (for ceasefire), but it’s not only about announcing," Assad said, adding that there were a number of factors that influenced the process of the search for a settlement in his country. "It’s also about other complimentary and more important factors, preventing the terrorists from using the ceasefire or the cessation of hostility to improve their position. It’s about preventing other countries, especially Turkey, from sending more recruits, more terrorists, more armaments, or any kind of logistical support to those terrorists… If we don’t provide all these requirements for the ceasefire, it will be against the stability; it’s going to make more chaos in Syria."
Assad recalled that there were "more than 80 countries supported those terrorists in different ways."
He appreciated assistance from Russia and Iran in the struggle with terrorists.
"Syria is a small country. We could fight, but in the end, there’s unlimited support and recruitment for those terrorists. You definitely need international support," Assad said.
Damascus will consider Turkish and Saudi Arabian military servicemen as terrorists, if the two countries dispatch their troops to Syria.
Asked how Syria might react if Turkey and Saudi Arabia followed through with their statements that they planned for sending troops there to allegedly fight the Islamic State, Assad replied: "As you said, allegedly. But if it happens, we’re going to deal with them like we deal with the terrorists. We’re going to defend our country."
He pointed out that Turkey and Saudi Arabia had no right to intrude into Syrian territory.
"They don’t have any right to interfere, politically or militarily, in Syria. This is a breach of international law, and as Syrian citizens, the only option we have is to fight and defend," Assad said.
He recalled that terrorists operating in country were getting "active support from the outside."
"Saudi Arabia is the main financier of those terrorists," he said.
Earlier, Ankara and Riyadh said they might dispatch ground troops to Syria for creating a so-called Islamic Army ostensibly for fighting against terrorism in the region. Troops from 34 countries with mostly Sunni populations might be included in this contingent.
Syrian authorities are prepared to conduct negotiations with the opposition, but not with terrorists.
"We can negotiate with those Syrians, with those patriotic Syrians who are related to their country, but we cannot negotiate with the terrorists," Assad said. "We opened the door for them, if they want, to lay down their armaments to go back to their normal life to be offered with full amnesty."
Assad believes that once the authorities have regained control of the whole of Syria’s territory "the natural thing, first of all, is to form a government, a national unity government where every political party can join if they have the will."
"This government should prepare for the new constitution, because if you want to talk about the future of Syria, because if you want to discuss with different parties how to solve the problem, the internal problem … you need to discuss the constitution."
Asked how he saw his own future in ten years’ time, Assad said: "The most important thing is how I see my country, because I’m part of my country. So, in 10 years, if I can save Syria as president - but that doesn’t mean I’m still going to be president in 10 years. I’m just talking about my vision of the 10 years. If Syria is safe and sound, and I’m the one who saved his country - that’s my job now, that’s my duty. So that’s how I see myself regarding the position, I’m talking about myself as a Syrian citizen. If … I cannot help my country, I have to leave right away."
A working group for the cessation of hostilities in Syria is to gather in Geneva next week. The decision to create the group was made at a meeting of the International Syria Support Group in Munich on February 11-12. In the meantime Russian and USA experts have been holding preparatory meetings without inviting the other ISSG members to join in for the time being.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry had a telephone conversation on Saturday to note progress in the delivery of humanitarian supplies to Syria and confirmed that the implementation of the Munich accords for a settlement in Syria required coordination by the two countries’ military.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary Lavrov and Kerry discussed "current practical cooperation between Russia and the United States in the capacity of co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group in implementing its decisions of February 12, adopted in Munich regarding the measures to ease the humanitarian situation and agree the modalities of terminating hostilities in that country, except for the struggle against terrorist groups."
"It was confirmed that the fine-tuning of mechanisms for coping with these tasks required coordination between military," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.