Riad Hijab, General Coordinator of the oppositions’ High Negotiations Committee (HNC), said that Assad regime has become a puppet in the hands of the Russians and the Iranians who are now the de facto rulers of Syria. He stressed that the Assad regime has been reduced to a gang whose main task is to loot and pillage Syrian towns and cities.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera TV channel on Thursday, Hijab said that Bashar al-Assad has become a mere a puppet, and his army has been reduced to a just small militia. The fight against the FSA and rebel fighters is spearheaded by sectarian foreign militias imported from Lebanon, Iraq and Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, he added.
Hijab said that Iran is now controlling Syria and Iraq, noting that the Iranians have increased their influence in Syria since Assad took power in 2000. He pointed that the Iranians are now controlling all the levers of government, adding that the Hezbollah flags and photographs of Hassan Nasrallah are now rampant in the streets of regime-held towns and cities.
When asked about the reasons for the outbreak of the Syrian revolution, Hijab said that Bashar al-Assad gave sizable privileges to businessmen while sidelining farmers and workers who used to receive much attention, albeit mostly rhetorical, from his father Hafez Assad. This policy has considerably widened the gap between the rich and the poor, with 11% to 34% living in poverty under Bashar al-Assad’s reign. Hijab said that when the revolution broke out, Bashar al-Assad told heads of his security and political apparatuses that what was happening was the result of “wrong security practices and the rampant corruption.”
Hijab concluded his remarks by stressing that all the Syrian revolution’s slogans initially called for reform, not for toppling the regime. However, the security forces responded with a brutal crackdown under instructions from the political leadership who were worried their powers and privileges will be diminished. Bashar al-Assad’s uncle Mohammed Makhlouf and other senior officers advised Bashar al-Assad that “the state should be ruled by an iron fist,” Hijab added. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office)