Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad scoffed at U.S. efforts to double down on a ceasefire and work with Russia, blaming the U.S. for perpetuating the war in Syria, in an interview with the Associated Press.
“The United States is not genuine regarding having a cessation of violence in Syria,” Assad accused. Assad continually blamed the U.S., Turkey and its Gulf Arab allies for supposedly falsely supporting terrorist groups. Assad, along with his Russian and Iranian allies, continually frame the civil war in Syria as one between themselves and “terrorists.”
The U.S. tried to broker a ceasefire with Russia in Syria that was supposed to last for a week. If the ceasefire held, the U.S. would partner with Russia to jointly target terrorist targets inside Syria. The ceasefire was continually broken by Assad and Russia. Assad abandoned all pretenses when he unilaterally declared the ceasefire over Monday, and again began bombing civilian populations in the city of Aleppo.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is still doubling down on his call for a continuation of the ceasefire, despite its abject failure. Kerry called Wednesday for an immediate grounding of all aircraft in Syria, so that humanitarian aid could reach besieged civilian populations.
Throughout his interview Assad nebulously claimed his forces were not besieging anyone. “If there’s really a siege around the city of Aleppo, people would have been dead by now,” Assad said.
Assad also denied any Russian or Syrian involvement in the bombardment of a United Nations humanitarian aid convoy Monday. The White House indicated Tuesday it holds Russia responsible for the strike. Both Russia and Syria insist the convoy was hit by rebel groups from the ground, despite clear evidence the strike was conducted from the air.
When the AP pressed Assad with eyewitness evidence, he responded, “What are the credibility of those eyewitnesses, who are they? We don’t know.”
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