DAMASCUS: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday (Aug 9) tamped down expectations for his nation’s renewed ties with the Arab world, in his first televised interview since Damascus’s membership of the Arab League was restored in Could.
In feedback to Sky Information Arabia in Damascus aired on Wednesday, Assad additionally stated a gathering with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan couldn’t occur as a consequence of a dispute over the withdrawal of Ankara’s troops from rebel-held northwest Syria.
Assad, 57, had been broadly remoted over his crackdown on demonstrations that erupted towards him in 2011 however the lethal earthquake that hit Syria and Turkey in February fast-tracked a resumption of ties with the Arab world and with Ankara.
On Wednesday, Assad appeared to decrease expectations for each tracks, together with a summit with Erdogan.
“Our aim is (Turkey’s) withdrawal from Syrian territory, whereas Erdogan’s aim is to legitimise the presence of Turkey’s occupation in Syria,” Assad stated. “Due to this fact, the assembly can’t happen beneath Erdogan’s situations.”
“Why would Erdogan and I meet? To drink drinks?”
Assad received a heat welcome on the Arab League’s summit in Jeddah in Could, the place he additionally held talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Requested what he anticipated from the Arab world, Assad stated, “I can’t anticipate, I can hope,” including that it was “unrealistic to anticipate that… these relationships, which started to look nearer to regular, would result in financial outcomes inside months.”
Syria’s economic system is in dire straits following the collapse of the native foreign money to all-time lows, tightening sanctions, the monetary meltdown of neighbouring Lebanon and the lack of lots of its oil-producing areas within the northeast.
Assad stated the worsening dwelling situations had discouraged displaced Syrians – who quantity within the tens of millions – from returning to their homeland.
Arab states have pressured Syria to rein in what they are saying is a flourishing drug commerce – significantly the amphetamine-like drug captagon – in trade for nearer relations.
Assad stated it was “illogical” to accuse the Syrian state of involvement in drug smuggling, including that his nation had a “shared curiosity” with Arab states in combating it.
Prime Syrian officers – together with Assad’s brother Maher – have confronted a brand new spate of sanctions in latest months from the USA and European Union over their alleged involvement in drug smuggling.
These measures have added to the Caesar Act of 2020, seen because the hardest and widest spherical of sanctions on Syria but.
”The Caesar Act is an impediment, little doubt, however we managed in quite a few methods to bypass this legislation,” Assad stated. He stated Syria had been in “intermittent” talks with the USA however that he didn’t anticipate any outcomes from them.
He didn’t point out Austin Tice, the US journalist who disappeared whereas reporting in Syria a decade in the past. Washington is in talks with Damascus over his destiny.