Statement by Bashar al-Assad, President of the Syrian Arab Republic, on February 17, 2020.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stated that the Liberation of the city of Aleppo did not mean the end of the war, the fall of enemy plans, the end of terrorism, or the surrender of enemies, but that it certainly meant that they had bitten the dust, as a prelude to their complete defeat which will inevitably occur sooner or later.
O our noble and honorable families of Aleppo.
(I send you my sincere) greetings (in recognition) of (your) steadfastness and (your) perseverance. (I send you) greetings of faith in God and in the nation. (I send you) greetings of courage and sacrifice. Our Syrian Arab Army brings you all these greetings via the sacrifices of its fighters.
When the city of Aleppo was liberated at the end of 2016, I declared that what would follow the Liberation of the city of Aleppo would be radically distinct from what preceded, because it was a major turning point. I said this based on my knowledge of the hearts and the determination of our armed forces. I said this based on my certainty about the patriotism of the people of Aleppo and their loyalty to their homeland and to the national army. I firmly believed it would overturn enemy calculations.
This is what happened. Aleppo had to pay a big price for that, equal to the greatness of its people and the patriotism of its stance. Years of brutal and atrocious bombing have struck most neighborhoods, causing tens of thousands of martyrs and wounded, orphans, bereaved fathers and mothers, widows. Years of siege without water, electricity and other essentials for life (because the terrorists wanted) Aleppo to kneel and its children to surrender. And with each treacherous shell dropped (because terrorist groups were constantly violating ceasefire agreements), the hope of enemies increased so that Aleppo would become another Aleppo (at their image), another Aleppo that has never existed throughout History… (Our enemies aspired to an) Aleppo which would not form with its twin, Damascus, two wings by which the country can fly. On the contrary, they aspired to see a city of Aleppo whose children would line up alongside the traitors, kneeling and prostrating before their masters, begging for a few dollars and lots of shame. This is what they dreamed of.
But as for (what really happened in) our real world, with each enemy shell dropped, the fear was washed away and the will to face this challenge increased. With each martyr who rose (to heaven), the national spirit has grown and faith in the country has been deepened ever more. In our real world, the real Aleppo has remained: Aleppo with its history, its noble heritage and its authenticity. And because it is so, Aleppo’s people have not only resolved to resist through resilience, with what it means in terms of pain, suffering and crisis, but also through action, work and the initiative to produce and move forward, which continued throughout the years of the siege, despite conditions totally contrary to all economic logic. Despite everything, this city continued to contribute, even if it was in a minimal way, to the national economy, and I am convinced that this type of steadfastness and firmness, which reflects the solid will and the deeply rooted affiliation to the nation, is the one that will bring Aleppo out of the ashes of war to restore its natural and pioneering position in the economy of Syria.
It is true that the Liberation of Aleppo in 2016 did not achieve the desired security for the city at the time, and it remained exposed to shells of betrayal and cowardice (fired from Aleppo’s countrysidethat we finally liberated). And it is also true today that winning a battle does not mean winning a war, but it is the abstract military logic that is based on ends and results. Because as far as national logic is concerned, victory begins with the start of steadfastness, from the very first day. And with this logic, Aleppo triumphed, and Syria triumphed. We have all triumphed over the fear that they tried to sow in our hearts. We triumphed over the illusions they tried to instill in our minds. We have triumphed over disintegration, hatred, betrayal and all those who represent, possess and practice these evils.
However, we are fully aware that this Liberation does not mean the end of the war, the end of enemy plots, the end of terrorism, or the surrender of enemies. But it certainly means that they have bitten the dust, as a prelude to their total defeat which will inevitably occur sooner or later.
It also means that we must not rest idle, but prepare for the battles to come. As a result, the battle to liberate the Aleppo and Idlib countryside continues regardless of some empty sound bubbles coming from the north (vain threats from Erdogan), just as the battle continues to liberate all of Syrian soil, crush terrorism and achieve stability.
Our Syrian Arab Army will never fail to fulfill its national duties, and will only be what it has always been, namely an army drawn from the people and at the service of the people. In history, armies have only triumphed when their people have united with them in their battle, and when they themselves have united with the people in his vision and in defense of his cause. This is what we have seen in Aleppo and other Syrian cities: you have embraced the army and it has protected you, defended you and sacrificed for you.
Today, as we live moments of joy, we must remember that these moments were reached by years of pain, anguish and sorrow, of absence of our beloved ones who sacrificed their lives for the lives and happiness of others. And as we bow with reverence to the greatness of our martyrs and the wounded, it is our duty to bow respectfully to the greatness of their glorious families. If victory is to be dedicated, then it must be dedicated to them. If anyone has to take credit for it, then they have should take the credit.
I salute them for the children they have raised, and I salute their children for their sacrifices. I salute each of the heroes of our great army and behind them our auxiliary forces. I salute the resistance of their bodies in the cold and frost, while we are blessed with the benefits of heat and security (thanks to them).
I pay tribute to our brothers, friends and allies who stood alongside the army, shoulder to shoulder on the battlefields, and guardian eagles in the sky. Their blood mixed with the blood of our army for the land of Aleppo, Aleppo the faithful to its homeland, faithful to its history, which will not forget the blood of those who sacrificed for it, and which will become again what it was, and will be reborn even stronger.
O our beloved people of Aleppo, I congratulate you on this day which consecrates the victory of your determination, by which we will lead the greatest battle for the (re)construction of Aleppo. By the will of all Syrians, we will (re)build Syria and we will continue the Liberation (of all of our territory), with the Grace of God.
Peace be upon you, as well as God’s Mercy and Blessings.
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