Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says sponsors of the ongoing militancy in his country seek to change the identity and culture of Arabs through dissemination of Takfiri ideologies, which condone acts of violence as legitimate methods of achieving certain goals.
Speaking in a meeting with representatives of the Tunisian leftist alliance Popular Front for the Realization of the Objectives of the Revolution in Damascus on Wednesday, Assad underscored the important role that political parties and popular organizations could play to identify the root causes of such a menace, and devise collective measures to confront it.
Tunisian politicians, for their part, stated that Syria is going through a ferocious and unprecedented crisis because it is the last bulwark against Western and Israeli plots.
They stressed that Syria had been and would remain the upholder of the Arabs’ identity.
The lawmakers further expressed solidarity with the Syrian government and nation, praising the exceptional steadfastness of Syrians in the face of the foreign-sponsored militancy they are subjected to.
The meeting came only two days after Assad said the Damascus government was ready to discuss anything with representatives from opposition groups, noting that Syrian government forces were bound to safeguard the country’s territorial integrity.
He argued that opposition delegates withdrew from the latest round of intra-Syrian talks in the Kazakh capital city of Astana under the “negative influence of Turkey,” emphasizing that Syrian government representatives welcome discussion on a vast array of subjects, including the Constitution, during the forthcoming UN-sponsored peace negotiations in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Syrian leader stated that any military operation inside Syria must receive the approval of the central government, terming the presence of unapproved foreign troops on the Syrian soil an act of invasion.
Assad underlined that the US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group must clearly declare its intention as it has never been serious about fighting Daesh or any other terror groups.
Assad also dismissed latest threats by Israel's minister for military affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, to destroy Syrian air defense systems, saying the Damascus government does not adjust its policies in parallel with those of the Tel Aviv regime.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict.