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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Assad: Syria held secret talks with US, bypassing sanctions

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stated that his country evaded US sanctions and had undisclosed talks with the US, which yielded no results, as revealed in a recent extensive interview. In the interview with Sky News Arabia in Damascus, Assad also downplayed the immediate economic benefits from improved ties with Arab nations.

Assad, who has been internationally isolated since the 2011 crackdown on protests leading to a devastating civil war, shared that Russia and Iran helped him turn the tide of the war, but the nation’s society, infrastructure, and economy suffered greatly.

Syria faces severe fuel shortages and intense sanctions, causing around 90 percent of the population to live below the poverty line.

Assad mentioned that while the Caesar Act posed an obstacle, Syria found ways to bypass it, but the war’s image hinders investment. He didn’t disclose the nature of the recent US talks. The US had engaged with Syria concerning the status of missing journalist Austin Tice.

Assad’s interview coincided with Syria’s return to the Arab League in May, as some Arab states pushed for reconciliation, particularly Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Yet, there are differing opinions within the region.

Assad remains cautious about expecting rapid economic results from the ongoing normalization efforts.

Regarding the drug trade, Assad denied government involvement, attributing it to war-induced chaos.

He also addressed talks with Turkey, stating that meetings can’t occur under Erdogan’s conditions due to conflicting goals.

In the interview, Assad provided insights into Syria’s stance on various regional and international matters.

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