Putin: the blame for the civilian casualties in Syria on those who are fighting against Assad

Putin: the blame for the civilian casualties in Syria on those who are fighting against Assad


SOCHI, January 12. Responsible for civilian casualties in Syria lies with those forces from the outside are fighting the forces of President Bashar al-Assad. This opinion was expressed by the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin in interview to German edition Bild, the second of which was published on Tuesday, January 12.

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“He (Assad) does not seek to destroy its own population; he fights with those who came to him with the weapon in hands”, – says the Russian leader. “And if civilians are suffering, I think first of all the responsibility for this lies with those who fight with arms in their hands, and those who aid armed formations”, – said Putin.

“I think President Assad has made many mistakes during the development of the conflict in Syria,” – said the head of the Russian state. “But do you not know that the conflict would not have assumed such magnitude, if initially was not supported from the outside in huge amounts of money, weapons, fighters? In such conflicts, of course, unfortunately, unfortunately, the civilian population,” he said.

Putin recognized that it is a very delicate question. “Who is responsible for it? A government that seeks to maintain the sovereignty and fighting these unconstitutional actions, or those who organize such an armed struggle with the government?” he said.

“But…. this does not mean that there (in Syria) all is well and all right”, – said Putin. “That’s why I believe that we need to carry out political transformation,” he added.

On a political settlement of the situation

The President believes the most important condition of a political settlement in Syria, the constitutional reform and then elections to the Parliament and the President.

“I think (in Syria) need to be political transformation. The first step in this direction should be to work on the new Constitution and its adoption,” he said, noting that “it is a complex process”.

The next step, according to Putin, will be the holding of early presidential elections and Parliament. “And only the Syrian people should determine who and how to govern the country”, – said the President of the Russian Federation. “Only in this case it will be possible to create a situation of stability, security, to create conditions for economic growth and human well-being, to create conditions to ensure that they not fled to Europe and lived in their own homes in their own homeland”, – said the Russian leader.

Putin answered a journalist’s question about what Russia wants to see Syria. “You know, I’ll tell you exactly what we don’t want: we don’t want the situation in Syria develops as it has developed in Libya or in Iraq,” he said. Putin recalled that Egypt was on the brink of chaos, but President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi “took responsibility, showed courage and took control of the country in their hands”.

“In my opinion, you need to aim all forces to strengthen the legitimate authorities in the countries of the region”, – Putin said, noting that this also applies to Syria. “To restore and strengthen the emerging patterns of power in a country like Iraq, and in a country like Libya to achieve stability in a country like Somalia, in other countries, to strengthen the government in Afghanistan,” he listed.

“But that doesn’t mean you have to leave it as is. Based on this stabilization must, of course, to carry out political reforms,” – says Putin.

On the possibility of granting asylum to Assad

The President of the Russian Federation considers that to grant asylum in Russia to Syrian President easier than it was to provide the same status to former U.S. intelligence officer Edward Snowden. The Russian leader noted that to speak about it prematurely, and also admitted that Assad the President of Syria and will need to leave Syria even in the event of a resignation of the President.

“You know, I think that discussing this is premature,” he said, answering a question on prospects of granting Assad asylum in the Russian Federation. “We have Mr (Edward) Snowden granted asylum, it was more difficult than to give Assad” – said Putin.

The President noted that to discuss this issue early. “We need to give opportunity to the Syrian people to speak out (during the elections),” he said. “And I assure you, if it goes in a democratic way,… it may be, and you will not need Assad to go anywhere; and it doesn’t matter whether he is President or not,” Putin said.

About Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden, the analyst who worked at the Agency for national security of the United States. In 2013, he publicized information about the methods of electronic surveillance by intelligence agencies of the United States, including the illegal “wiretapping” of negotiations international leaders. Escaping from persecution by the US authorities, Snowden has sent requests for asylum to the authorities of more than 20 countries, including Russia. August 1, 2014 Snowden has received a residence permit in Russia for three years. Since it is located on the territory of Russia.

In the USA, Snowden is charged with violating two articles of the espionage act. On each of these points he faces up to 10 years in prison.