Syria's foreign minister told the United Nations today that a military victory in the six-year war was "now within reach" following a series of battleground gains by government forces.
Syria’s foreign minister told the United Nations today that a military victory in the six-year war was “now within reach” following a series of battleground gains by government forces. “The liberation of Aleppo and Palmyra, the lifting of the seige of Deir Ezzor and the eradication of terrorism from many parts of Syria prove that victory is now within reach,” Walid al-Muallem told the General Assembly. The foreign minister, who also holds the rank of deputy prime minister in Bashar al-Assad’s government, said Syrian government forces will be remembered as heroes for their role in the war.
“When this unjust war in Syria is over, the Syrian army will go down in history as the army that heroically defeated, along with its supported forces and its allies, the terrorists that came to Syria from many countries,” he said. Assad’s forces have been accused by western powers of carrying out atrocities, targeting civilians and using banned chemical weapons, an accusation that Muallem again rejected in his address. More than 330,000 people have died in the war and more than 5 million Syrians have fled across borders to become refugees.
The United Nations is planning to convene a new round of peace talks in the coming weeks between Syria’s government and the opposition, even though past negotiations have failed to yield more than incremental progress. The UN-brokered negotiations have hit a wall over opposition demands for a political transition paving the way for the end of Assad’s rule.
The foreign minister laid out what he termed as a “red line” in UN-brokered talks on ending the war, suggesting Damascus will never bow to international pressure for a political transition to end Assad’s rule. The Syrian government rejects “any external interference in political decisions regarding Syria’s future,” said Muallem. “Only Syrians have the right to make such decisions, whether now or in the future.”