DAMASCUS, (SANA)_ Minister of Information Dr. Adnan Mahmoud said the coming days will witness a comprehensive national dialogue in all Syrian governorates. In a press conference on Friday Dr. Mahmoud added that the government is currently implementing a comprehensive political, economic and social reform program in the interest of the people. ” There is a correlation between security and stability from one hand and the reform from the other hand,”
The Minister said that in light of the situation in some governorates, police and security forces have been sent to pursue the armed groups which perpetrated acts of killing citizens, terrorized people, burned public and private properties, halted social and economic life, threatened schools and public security. He affirmed that the army units arrested several members of the armed groups and seized a large quantity of weapons, ammunition and improvised explosive devices that were prepared to target citizens, the vital economic installations such as bridges, oil pipelines, railways and others as part of a plan to hit the social and economic life and public facilities in the country.
He mad it clear that this process led to the martyrdom of 98 officers and soldiers of the army and security forces in addition to injuring 1040 besides the martyrdom of 22 policemen and wounding 451 others, due to the strict instructions by President Bashar al-Assad not to open fire and use weapons.
Minister Mahmoud went on to say that targeting the army by armed groups wasn’t linked to demonstrations, but it was a result of the armed groups’ deliberate attacks on the checkpoints in some areas. He said after the restoration of tranquility, stability and security, the army units began to gradually depart from Banias and surroundings while the army units deployed in Daraa and surroundings are completing the gradual depart to return to their main camps.
Dr. Mahmoud pointed out that life in those areas has been gradually returning to normal where citizens start to exercise their normal activities.
The Minister hailed the important role of people that helped the army units detect and arrest those armed groups to be prosecuted. Dr. Mahmoud said the government is determined to restore security, tranquility and serenity to all governorates and separate between the right to peaceful demonstrations and the use of weapons, killings, terrorizing and vandalism to destabilize and hit the public life.
On the request of the UN Mission for Human Rights to provide humanitarian aid to people in Daraa, the Minister said the Syrian government and Syrian Red Crescent, were following up the situation in Daraa and there was no shortage of food and medicine.
“We have informed the UN that there was no need for any assistance to Daraa,” the Minister said, noting that no one of those organizations proposed to provide humanitarian aid when Syria experienced a five-year drought and Hasaka, north-east Syria, witnessed floods at the beginning of this month.
As for the European sanctions, Dr. Mahmoud regretted that these states adopted their positions depending on what was broadcast by some biased media and electronic sites on the events in Syria without making sure of the reality on the ground.
The Minister said ” That will not affect our determination to confront the armed groups and extremism,” adding “destabilizing Syria will not deter us from continuing the work to implement the comprehensive reform program.”
Regarding the national dialogue, Dr. Mahmoud said “President Bashar al-Assad met with popular activities from different Syrian governorates and listened to their opinions, demands and visions on what is happening in Syria,” adding that next days will experience a national dialogue involving all the Syrian governorates.
On statements of businessman Rami Makhlouf, the Minister concluded by saying that those statements express his own opinion and do not reflect the stance of the government and the leadership in Syria.