Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Thursday he intends to retake every inch from his country stressing that it’s any government’s duty to regain control of its territory.
In an interview in Damascus with Europe 1 radio and the TF1 and LCI television channels, the Syrian leader Raqa is not a priority target for the Syrian army, noting that: “everywhere is a priority depending on the development of the battle.”
“Raqa is a symbol,” Assad said while asserting that jihadist attacks carried out in France were “not necessarily prepared” in the ISIL stronghold in Syria.
“You have ISIL close to Damascus, you have them everywhere,” he added, pointing out that “they are in Palmyra now and in the eastern part of Syria.”
“For us it is all the same, Raqa, Palmyra, Idlib, it’s all the same.”
The Syrian leader said it was the “duty of any government” to regain control of “every inch” of its territory.
Meanwhile, President Assad said the Western countries will pay price for supporting terrorists whom they thought they were ‘moderate rebels’.
On the other hand, Assad revealed that he had contacts with French intelligence, noting that such move took place recently when a French delegation paid a visit to Damascus.
Asked about recent allegations by Amnesty International of executions and torture at a prison near Damascus, President Assad categorically denied such claims, describing the watchdog’s report as “childish”.
The report did not contain “a single fact (or) evidence” to support allegations that some 13,000 people were hanged at the Saydnaya prison between 2011 and 2015.
He said he was completely against the visit of the Amnesty International observers to the country.
“No, we will not let Amnesty come here. Under no circumstances and for no reason,” Assad told the Europe1 radio station in an interview.
It is a matter of national sovereignty, the Syrian president added.
“Would you agree that the Syrian delegation come to you to examine the reasons why under the presidency of, firstly, [Nicolas] Sarkozy, then [Francois] Hollande, the army attacked the Libyans and killed tens or hundreds of thousands of them?” the president replied, when asked of the possibility of observers’ visit.