Halki: US-Led Action in Syria Counterproductive

Coalition's aerial campaign not coordinated with the Syrian government and has deviated from its stated goals of fighting terrorism, says prime minister

Prime Minister Wael al-Halki has stressed that Damascus considers US actions in Syria and Iraq counterproductive, adding that the US-led aerial campaign is not coordinated with the Syrian government and has completely deviated from the fight against terrorism.

“The Syrian army is fighting on the front and plays the decisive role, while the actions of the coalition led by the United States have nothing to do with the fight against terrorism”, Halki said in an interview with Russia’s Sputnik news agency.

According to Halki, Syria needs to stop the funding of terrorist groups and combat the smuggling of foreign fighters into the country.

The prime minister said that at present, the Syrian government does not sense any real cooperation in terms of suspending funding and provision of military and logistical support to terrorists, adding “it is evident that Washington is interested in the counterterrorism efforts only for its own purposes that consist of dividing the region and local communities and suppressing opposing forces”.

“We are grateful for the Russian president’s support, but the problem is that today we don’t see that Turkey or Saudi Arabia are prepared to change their stance and begin a common fight against terrorism. In reality we see that Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, and Israel continue to help armed groups that are active in Syria. So how can we say now that these countries will form a joint union with Syria in the fight against terrorism?” Halki said.

The prime minister added that he supports Russian President Vladimir Putin’s initiative to create a coalition between Syria and its neighbors in the fight against terrorism “if it satisfies the interests of all the countries in the region”.

“Russia has proved to be a friend of the Syrian people, and its positions have been repeatedly reaffirmed at the highest level. It is worth emphasizing that in the UN Security Council, Russia used its veto power against the calls of the side supporting terrorism four times”, Halki said.

According to Halki, a third round of Moscow-based Syrian-Syrian negotiations are currently in the planning stage, aiming to bring together representatives of Russia, the Syrian leadership, and members of opposition groups.

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