Syria's Assad denies Russia makes decisions for him in interview

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al Assad during their meeting in Sochi

Syrian President Bashar Assad rejected the idea that Russian Federation was in the know on Israeli airstrikes in Syria. This is calculated at avoiding further Israeli air strikes against Iranian targets in Syria, according to a report published on Saturday by the Wall Street Journal.

Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah has also fought alongside the military of President Bashar Al-Assad ever since an uprising against his family's decades-long rule slid into a civil war that has raged for some seven years. Russian Federation has provided crucial military support to Assad's forces, waging an air campaign since 2015 that turned the tide of the war in Assad's favor.

Al-Assad also denounced that the government of the United Kingdom supports, even financially, the so-called White Helmets, a supposedly humanitarian organization that operates in areas where extremist groups are established.

"Russia never coordinated with anyone against Syria, either politically or militarily, and that's [a] contradiction", he said.

When pressed on whether Russian Federation knew in advance of airstrikes carried out by Israel, Assad responded, "That's not true, that's not true, definitely".

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Syrian President Bashar Assad denied Russian Federation coordinated Israeli strikes inside his country, noting it was impossible for the Putin regime to both aid the Syrian Army and, at the same time, "work with our enemies in order to destroy our army".

Assad declined to say whether he would run for a third term in three years, when his current term expires, saying it is "too early" to discuss it.

"We are fighting the terrorists", Assad said, arguing that the armed groups are "supported by the British government, the French government and the American [government]" as well as their "puppets in our region". "We can not make these advances just because we have Russian and Iranian support".

In recent weeks, the Syrian government and its allies have made considerable military gains, including bringing the entire capital and its suburbs under full government control for the first time since the war began. Alongside Russia, Iran-backed forces in Syria have helped Assad drive rebels from the country's biggest cities and reclaim swathes of the eastern deserts from Islamic State.

On Sunday, airstrikes killed at least nine people in the town of Taftanaz and another two people in nearby towns in the northern Idlib province, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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