Syrian PM Wael al-Halaqi’s interview
By JATIN DESAI
Damascus: Syria is in crisis. It is at war. The war is not easy to fight. Syrians are fighting a war against fierce terrorists backed by few nations. The important question before the Syrians is whether secular fabric of Syria will remain intact or it will fall into the hands of terrorists aligned to Al Qaeda. In Damascus, a capital city, I can hear bomb blasts from my room. In last two years since terrorist activities began in Syria around 60,000 people from all side are believed to be killed. One can see people migrating to neighbouring countries. But, the Syrian government is determined to free Syria from terrorists. Mr. Wael al-Halaqi, the Prime Minister of Syria in a candid interview told me at his office in Damascus on Thursday (14th February) that the Syria willemerge as much stronger nation after the current crisis.
“War against Syria is a global. After more than 23 months of crisis, we know who are behind it. Many foreign terrorist entered Syria from neighbouring countries Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. These terrorists are against the values of religion. These terrorists are killing innocent citizens. They slaughter young boys and girls. They cut them into pieces. I myself has seen bodies of few girls chopped into pieces,” Mr. Wael al-Halaqi, said in an exclusive interview.
He spoke for more than an hour and appreciated India’s role of extending support to the Syrian people. He is a medical doctor by profession. He emphasised that India and Syria has relations of more than 2,000 years. Syrian President Bashar Al Assad visited India in 2008 and then Indian President Smt. Pratibha Patil visited Syria in 2010. These visits have helped in cooperation in various fields including technology. Terrorists are striking regularly. They are from 29 countries. Many countries have closed their Embassies in Damascus but India has decided not to close his Embassy. Common people including young boys and girls are appreciating India’s position of non-interference in other countries matters. Syrian PM has high regards for Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, whom he met last year on the sidelines of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran.
Bomb blasts and firing has become regular feature even in Damascus. But, Syrians seems determined to defeat them. There are no sign of panick on their face.
“Terrorists rape women. They have destroyed or looted 37 regional hospitals. 137 Medical centres and more than 200 Ambulances are destroyed. They have damaged electricity infrastructure. Schools and Universities are also on their target. They destroyed and robbed thousand factories in Aleppo and transferred it to Turkey. Even Cows were stolen and sold in Turkey. Their target is to destroy Syria and divide Syrian society along religious, sectarian & ethnic lines. They have also destroyed few mosques and cathedrals. Prior to this crisis, Syria used to export Oil but now we have to import and have to pay millions of dollar. The sanctions have put us into more difficulties. But, the government is committed to provide relief to the citizens and we will the global war imposed on us,”added Mr. Wael al-Halaqi.
He further said that Syria is targeted because of its consistent policy of supporting Palestinian resistance. During Arab Spring, demonstrations were organized in Syria demanding political and social reforms and we responded positively. I was in touch with them. But, then there were other forces started attacking and killing soldiers.
Arab League had sent a mission in Syria to monitor Syria’s progress in withdrawing troops from protest areas, free political prisoners. The mission was in accordance with Arab League Peace Plan aimed to resolve the Syrian crisis. It was headed by Sudanese General Mohammad Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi. Syrian PM said that Sudanese General and his team discovered terrorists are terrorising Syrian citizens. Accordingly, he prepared report which also stated that a political solution was the only way ahead and that was the reason he was removed.
Kofi Annan’s peace initiative also died. He resigned. The Syrian government had also subsequently briefed UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, that jihadi terrorist Salafi, Takfiri & Wahabi groups are active. Also, Al Qaeda affiliated Al Nusra and other terrorists’ organizations have created havoc.
The Syrian government has started political dialogue with political parties operating from within the country or outside. PM himself has met representatives of 11 opposition political parties. The Government is prepared to discuss all issues unconditionally. But, it says that it will be held only in Syria and not outside. Wael al-Halaqi said the political consultation will be followed by a National Dialogue Conference. He is confident that Syria will emerge much stronger and nobody can destroy Syrian multicultural, multi-ethnic society.