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President Bashar al-Assad: US-led coalition airstrikes in Syria illegal

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has described as “an illegal intervention” the US-led aerial bombarding campaign purported to be against Takfiri ISIL militants in his country.

“It is an illegal intervention, first, because it did not receive the approval of the [UN] Security Council. Then, because it has not taken into consideration the sovereignty of a state, which is Syria,” Assad said in an interview given to Paris Match magazine published on Thursday.

Since late September, the US and some of its Arab allies have been conducting airstrikes against the ISIL inside Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate. However, the raids have so far failed to dislodge the ISIL.

Assad further said that the war between the Syrian army and the Takfiri militants “is not about a war between two armies, where one occupies a territory and the other another one. It is another type of war. We are dealing with terrorist groups that infiltrate a town or village. So this war will be long and difficult.”

“Whatever happens, we and other Syrians will never accept that our country become a plaything in the hands of the West. It is a fundamental principle for us,” the Syrian president said.

The Syrian president said he is accountable for the fate of Syria and the Syrian people by likening himself to a “captain” of a troubled “ship.”

“The state is like a ship: the captain does not escape in the storm. He does not quit the deck. If passengers need to leave, then he is the last to go,” Assad said.

Syria has been grappling with a deadly crisis since March 2011. The ISIL terrorists, who control large parts of Syria and Iraq, have threatened all communities, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, and Christians.

More than 200,000 people have been killed so far in the conflict in Syria, according to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein.

Western powers and some of their regional allies – especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey – are reportedly supporting the militants.

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