Syrian President Bashar al-Assad rarely speaks to his own people, or even emerges from his Presidential palace, so him giving an interview should be newsworthy in and of itself. But then, on top of giving an interview, he and said some terrible things about Britain.
It's unclear when the interview took place, but Assad spoke "frankly" with the Sunday Times recently (we presume). In the only clip of the interview available right now, Assad does not hold back his feelings for the U.K. government. "There's no contact between Syria and Britain for a long time," he said. "To be frank, Britain has played famously in our region an unconstructive role in different issues, for decades, some say for centuries."
To Assad, the issue lies in Britain's determination to support the Syrian rebels with weapons. The country is expected to announce arm supplies for rebel fighters before the start of the summer. the U.S. has so far refused to supply rebels with weapons, instead opting for $60 million in non-lethal aid. "How can we expect to ask Britain to play a role while it's determined to militarise the problem? How can you ask them to play a role in making the situation better, more stable, how can we expect them to make the violence less when they want to send the military supply to the terrorist?" Assad asked.
To hear him tell it, the U.K. is the problem that needs changing, not Syria. Their attitude needs adjusting, at the very least. "I think they are working against us, and they are working against the interests of the UK itself," he said. "This Government is acting in a naïve, confused, and unrealistic manner. If they want to play a role they have to change this, they have to act in a more reasonable and responsible way." This is responsible, solid advice from the President of a country with an internal conflict that has killed an estimated 70,000 people.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.