March 15 marks the start of eight years of upheaval in which the United States, Saudi Arabia and their allies funnelled arms, training and financial support to opposition groups in Syria seeking to topple the government of President Bashar Assad.
The Daesh* terror group took advantage of the chaos to at one point seize half the country before the Syrian Army backed by Russian airstrikes played the key role in turning the tide.
Freeman said recognising the authority of the Damascus government over the entire territory of the country was central to finally establish a stable and lasting peace. But the United States, Israel and Turkey still refuse to acknowledge this reality, he cautioned.
Freeman noted that peace remains difficult to achieve after eight years of war that has cost an estimated 600,000 lives and generated millions of refugees.
Iran and Russia supported the government of President Bashar Assad rather than any of the radical Islamist factions arrayed against it, Freeman pointed out.
On the other side, “The United States, Turkey, the Gulf Arabs, and Israel all attempted to overthrow the government by supporting its opponents, some of whom were terrorists as well as enemies elsewhere of those supporting them in Syria,” he said.
The Trump administration halted aid to them when it became apparent that it had not only been ineffective but politically embarrassing and counterproductive, Freeman noted.
Foreign assistance to anti-Assad forces both widened and extended the conflict, greatly increasing the number of dead, wounded and displaced Syrian civilians as well as casualties among those actually engaged in the fighting.
Meanwhile, Daesh has picked Northern Afghanistan as the new centre of its caliphate, Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) first deputy director General Sergei Smirnov said on Friday following a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (SCO RATS) council.
*Daesh is a terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.
The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
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