Syrian President addresses parliament
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has addressed his country’s new parliament following elections in April of this year. The last time he addressed parliament was in June 2012 after the general elections in May of that year.
The tone and approach of his speech was little different in that he maintained his position that the government would continue fighting terrorism, that interference from Western governments was unwelcome and that Syria was grateful to its friends which he named as Russia, Iran, China and the Lebanese Hezbollah ‘resistance fighters.
He kept his most scathing remarks for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Turkish government which he described as a fascist regime.
After talking a lot about the recent general election and how it showed the resolve of the Syrian people (in government controlled areas) he also talked about the United Nations and their attempts to broker a peace deal. President Assad noted that his government had attempted to engage on the basis of some key principles which had been ignored and which he then outlined.
“I will quickly mention the basic principles proposed in the paper: Syria’s sovereignty and unity, rejection of foreign interference, rejection of terrorism, supporting reconciliations, preserving establishments, lifting the siege, reconstruction, and controlling borders. There are also other points that are mentioned in the current constitution and other constitutions like cultural diversity, citizens’ liberties, and independence of the judiciary, and other principles. We didn’t agree to any proposition outside these principles, quite simply, and this is why they refused. We didn’t hear anyone saying no but there was evasion.”
On Turkey he said “Although most Syrian provinces, villages, and towns have suffered and still suffer from terrorism, and they resisted it and still do, Erdogan’s fascist regime has always focused on Aleppo because for him it’s the only hope for its Muslim Brotherhood project after he failed in Syria and after his criminal and extremist nature was exposed to the world, and also because Aleppo’s people refused to be a pawn and a tool in the hand of strangers and they resisted and persevered and remained in Aleppo, defending it and defending the homeland.”
The president also noted that Saudi Arabia had ‘openly declared their support for terrorism more than once and that they, along with the Americans and others, had used economic sanctions to try and defeat the Syrian regime.
He said “They weren’t content with the terrorism of explosives and shells; they also backed it with economic terrorism through sanctions against Syria and through pressuring the Syrian Pound with the goal of economic collapse and bringing the people to their knees.”
Then the president re-iterated his position on the civil war. “Just like we liberated Palmyra and many other areas before it, we will liberate every inch of Syria from their grasp. We have no choice other than victory, or else there won’t be a Syria and our children will not have a present or a future.” He continued, “The defeat of terrorism must be realized as long as there are states like Iran, Russia, and China that support the Syrian people and stand by righteousness and assist the wronged in the face of the wrongdoer.”
He went on to thank Hezbollah and their support for the regime as well as praising the many ‘martyrs’ from the Syrian armed forces. “These heroes gave their lives in defence of the land and the people and of the country with its constitution, establishments, and law. The price we have to pay is preserving the constitution, preserving establishments and developing them, consecrating justice and equal opportunities. These heroes gave their lives to restore the homeland whole and intact. The homeland whole is made up of all these elements together, so live up to their sacrifices, be as the people hope you to be. Your mission isn’t just a duty entrusted to you by the voters; it is also a duty entrusted to you by the martyrs and the wounded and bereaved mothers and all those who offered their blood, money, intellect, and position to protect their homeland. It is a great and serious duty, so let us all bear it together and live up to it.”
You can read a lot more of the speech here.