Question 1: Thank you for seeing us Mr President. As you know, the British government today will be voting on whether it will join the coalition airstrikes against ISIS. Is Britain right to join airstrikes against ISIS in Syria? And do you welcome its involvement; and will it make things worse or not make a change?
President Assad: If I want to let’s say, evaluate a book, I cannot take or single out a phrase from that book to evaluate the whole book. I have to look at the headlines, then the titles of the chapters and then we can discuss the rest of the book. So, what we are talking about is only an isolated phrase. If we want to go back to the headline, it is "the will to fight terrorism.” We know from the very beginning that Britain and France were the spearheads in supporting the terrorists in Syria, from the very beginning of the conflict. We know that they don’t have that will, even if we want to go back to the chapter on military participation with the coalition, it has to be comprehensive, it has to be from the air, from the ground, to have cooperation with the troops on the ground, the national troops for the interference or participation to be legal. It is legal only when the participation is in cooperation with the legitimate government in Syria. So, I would say they don’t have the will and they don’t have the vision on how to defeat terrorism.
And if you want to evaluate, let’s evaluate from the facts. Let’s go back to the reality on the ground. Since that coalition started its operation a year or so, what was the result? ISIS and al-Nusra and other like-minded organizations or groups, were expanding, expanding freely. What was the situation after the Russians participated in fighting terrorism directly? ISIS and al-Nusra started shrinking. So I would say, first they will not give any results. Second, it will be harmful and illegal, and it will support terrorism as what happened after the coalition started its operation a year or so, because this is like a cancer. You cannot cut the cancer. You have to extract it. This kind of operation is like cutting the cancer that will make it spread in the body