The President of Syria, Bashar Al-Assad, believes that the United States is not serious about trying to defeat the ISIS invasion in his country. Al-Assad, who is a polarizing leader around the world, spoke about the matter during an exclusive interview he conducted with NBC News earlier this week. He talked about how he was branded as being a “delusional” leader for hoping to take back every inch of his country from the ISIS barbarians. But he may owe his new-found boldness to a close relationship with Russia.
Assad claims the Syrian army has made sufficient headway in the past few months against ISIS forces, which means they are on track to get the entire country back over the coming years. Even though he claims it may not “any more than a few months” to get Syria back from ISIS, most experts believe it will take a little longer for the Syrian army to completely defeat their enemy.
For his part, Al-Assad is not diplomatic about who he credits with helping his country defeat ISIS. During his interview with NBCNews, Assad went on to say that Russia was the world power that really stepped up when his country needed them most. “It was the crucial factor that tipped the scales in our favor,” said Assad. One example of Russia’s assistance is how they helped get the city of Palmyra back from under ISIS control.
But the role of the Russians is not necessarily viewed as a positive sign by other Western powers. They are worried about the Russians overreaching in a part of the world that may not concern them. In addition, the United States and other countries are not happy with the fact that Russia has been busy bombing various parts of Syria, with little regard for whether they are hitting civilians or terrorists.
Russia does claim their attacks are targeted and only strike on terrorist hubs, but other entities do not have share the same views. The United States is still determined to have more of a say in what goes on in Syria over the coming months. They are attempting to strike a backchannel deal that may see Bashar Al-Assad give up power in return for United States support in the war against ISIS. The Secretary of State from the United States, John Kerry, is heading to Syria for talks in the coming days.
According to Assad, the assistance given by the United States so far has only served to make matters worse. He believes that “illegal” American airstrikes have resulted in more terrorism, while Russia’s “legal” attacks have helped the Syrian army defeat the enemy. But some view Assad’s statements as having a huge agenda, because he wants to align himself with Russia to remain in power.