Syrian FM Walid Al-Muallem Accuses U.S. of Supporting ISIS: We Will Fight the American Presence in Syria with All Legitimate Means
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Muallem accused the U.S. of continuing its "blatant hostility toward Syria since 2011," saying that it continues to support ISIS and has provided the Al-Nusra Front with weapons. Calling any Damascus-Washington communication "highly unlikely," Al-Muallem said that they would fight the "illegal" American presence in Syria "with all legitimate means." He further said that the Al-Nusra Front has smuggled barrels of chlorine gas into areas in Idlib and that "in coordination with British intelligence, they are preparing a scenario [of a chemical attack], which will be broadcast to the world when the military campaign in Idlib begins." "The U.S. warning of a possible tripartite act of aggression, under the pretext of the [Syrian regime's] use of chemical weapons, is part of its support of ISIS, and constitutes an attempt to prolong the crisis in Syria," said Al-Muallem. He was speaking on Russia Today TV on September 1, 2018.
The following are excerpts:
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Muallem: If a military campaign [in Idlib] is necessary, then this is what needs to be done in order to confront the Al-Nusra Front. As for factions that are interested in a settlement – they must declare their position, and must abide by their commitments in the compromise [agreement]. This is what we hope will happen.
We are not looking for a confrontation with Turkey, but the Turks need to understand that the Idlib governorate – and not only the Idlib governorate – constitutes Syrian land, which is subject to Syrian sovereignty.
The U.S. has demonstrated blatant hostility toward Syria since 2011, when the crisis in Syria broke out, and it continues in its hostility. To this moment it supports ISIS, and there is tangible evidence of this. It has provided the Al-Nusra Front with weapons. The U.S. warning of a possible tripartite act of aggression, under the pretext of the [Syrian regime’s] use of chemical weapons, is part of its support of ISIS, and constitutes an attempt to prolong the crisis in Syria, especially since we are approaching the end of the crisis.
Interviewer: So there cannot be any communication between Damascus and Washington, not even through mediators?
Walid Al-Muallem: This is highly unlikely.
[The White Helmets] have abducted  children, and have started to post fabricated testimonials of those children online. In addition, the Al-Nusra Front smuggled barrels of chlorine gas into areas in Idlib controlled by the White Helmets. In coordination with British intelligence, they are preparing a scenario, which will be broadcast to the world when the military campaign in Idlib begins.
There was a tripartite act of aggression in April, under the pretext that chemical weapons had been used in Douma. They launched the aggression before the international investigators began their investigations into the [alleged] use of chemical weapons in Douma. In other words, this was a smokescreen for the international community. Nobody believes these stories anymore.
Syrian-Iranian relations are not subject to any possible compromise.
Interviewer: With regard to the American military presence – what is your position on this…
Walid Al-Muallem: First of all, this presence is illegal, because nobody in Syria invited them. The legitimate government has taken the staunch position that this presence is illegal. They came to Syria in order to play a role in the formulation of the final solution, and this role is definitely at odds with the interests of the Syrian people. Therefore, we are saying that this [U.S.] presence is illegal, and we are confronting it.
We say to our Kurdish brothers that they are a part of the Syrian fabric. In other words, they are Syrian citizens. No matter what promises the Americans are making them, they should draw a lesson from their reliance on the superpowers for over a century, and from how those superpowers abandoned them.
Interviewer: The Kurds continue to bet on the Americans?
Walid Al-Muallem: Yes. Unfortunately. Some, not all of them. Some of them are betting on the Americans, and I tell them that is an illusion. The Americans are famous for abandoning their allies. The real bet should be on the homeland, and Syria is determined to regain its sovereignty…
Interviewer: How will the Syrian government regain sovereignty over the Kurdish-controlled area? Will you do so by force or through negotiations?
Walid Al-Muallem: We have given priority to dialogue and compromise, and even with regard to some of the Kurdish demands – demands pertaining to their culture and history… We are ready to look into these demands. There are, however, red lines. Syrian territorial integrity and sovereignty… This was the number one topic in the Syrian-Kurdish dialogue in Damascus, and the Kurdish leaders who attended acknowledged this. In other words, we will not allow secession or a federal state. So we give priority to dialogue. We prefer dialogue and understanding. Ultimately, however, we must regain our sovereignty, and the Syrian institutions must return to all areas of Syria.
Interviewer: Is anyone impeding the military conclusion of this crisis?
Walid Al-Muallem: America.
Interviewer: And in the region? Are any countries still trying to prolong this war?
Walid Al-Muallem: America’s minions.
Interviewer: How can you fight the U.S. presence?
Walid Al-Muallem: With all legitimate means. With all legitimate means. These is past experience by peoples… Look at Iraq, for example, before the emergence of ISIS.