On April 3, ForUm held online conference with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Syrian Arab Republic in Ukraine Mr. Mohamed Said Akil, during which the diplomat spoke about reasons Syrian conflict and overall situation in the country.

Serhiy, 43, Kyiv, IT specialist: Good day! The conflict in Syrian has been lasting for two years. Is it a civil war or military intervention by foreign countries? What countries participate in the conflict and is there a possibility to stop hostility?

- There is no and cannot be civil war in Syria, as Syrian people live in harmony regardless of religion, confession or nationality.

The events happening in Syrian are the realization of the plan, approved by the West (US and its allies) to map new Middle East. And this plan is based on the theory of civilization wars. According to the plan, the Middle East should fall into pieces, small territories easy to control. The realization of the plan started with Iraq in 2003. Then there was the turn of Tunis, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Lebanon and finally Syria.

The countries fighting against us are the US and other NATO countries, including Turkey. Several Arab countries have also been involved in the plan. Those who carry out acts of terrorism are not the opposition, but terrorists being supported by these countries.

National opposition in Syria stands against foreign interference and split of the country. A part of the opposition has already entered the government. This opposition wants to hold a dialogue with the authorities and to carry out a number of reforms necessary for further democratization of the country.

Countries financing terrorists should stop doing it, and representatives of our people regardless of beliefs and ideologies should sit and talk. Only then we will be able to overcome the conflict. Our authorities have been calling for negotiations since the first day of the conflict. Unfortunately, the so-called foreign opposition does not agree. Its only demand is overthrow of power and resignation of the President

Platon: Good day, Mr. Ambassador. We closely follow the events happening in Syria. Why does not your government apply all force of the army to suppress the conflict or ask for United Nations help or that of friendly countries?

- Our authorities do not want to use brutal force. Groups of terrorists spread among civil population, and street fights must be stopped through 'surgical' interventions not total wipeout. Our army is strong and we do not need military support of other countries. Moreover, foreign support may attract other hostile countries and the conflict will grow bigger.

As for the United Nations, we all know who leads it and manipulates resolutions for own interests.

A man: Before the overthrow of legal government in Libya, its representative office hung out the flag of the opposition. Is there a possibility Syrian embassies may do the same?

- Our Syrian flag is not going to change. It is a symbol of our people, land and power. Those who offer a different flag simply want to split the country and are involved into a plot against Syria.

Kyiv resident: I want to express my sympathy with Syrian people. It is a shame innocent people have to suffer because of some scoundrels. However, I worry about the fate of Christians in Syria. What is their situation?

- Not only Christians suffer terror in Syria. All Syrian people fight international terrorism. Terrorists attack our infrastructure and kill civilians regardless of their religious beliefs or nationality.

When our leader was asked how many Christians live in the country, he said 23 million. When he was asked how many Muslims live in the country he also answered 23 million. In response to the question about overall population of Syria, the mufti said - 23 million people. For him, every citizen of the country represents all confessions and religions.

Kassar: Do you think President Bashar Assad has chances to keep his post if the war is over?

- I am sure President Bashar Assad will be re-elected at the next election, scheduled for 2014. The majority of population supports him. The conflict in Syrian has lasted for two years, and if not for this support, the government would have already fallen. 

Dmytro: All normal people of Ukraine wish Syria success in its fight against international terrorism. What do you need to overcome the problem?

- I want to thank people of Ukraine for the support and understanding of what is really happening in Syria. We all want to conflict to be over. Unfortunately, our country is currently under tightened pressure from the NATO countries and a number of Arab countries, which traffic to Syria all mercenaries and criminals of the world to overthrow our government. They finance them, arm and provide with all the necessary media to achieve this goal. But the people of Syria will defend their homeland whatever the cost.

Boyarunets: No surprise many questions are about the conflict. But one day it will be over. A friend of mine visited Syria several years ago and found it charming and promising. What spheres of economy are the most prospective in Syria? And why?

- Syria is a self-sufficient country. It has everything it needs to live and prosper, including oil and gas. We cultivate hard wheat and export it in Italy. We have high-quality phosphate. Syria is the fourth leading country on olive oil production. Syrian cotton is well known all over the world. We have sugar beet and various fruit and vegetables. Before the conflict Syrian did not have any external debt.

Andriy: How long and how much can it take to restore the country after the victory over rebels?

- The infrastructure of the country has been almost destroyed, but Syrian people have the will and possibility to restore it in the shortest term. The head of the Industrial Chamber of Syrian gave a speech recently and said that owners of the destroyed plants are ready to rebuild them. Our government is also engaged into restoration of infrastructure. I cannot tell you exact terms, but the most important is to defeat this terrorism and believe in the future of the country.

Kris: Mr. Ambassador, do you believe that calls of the leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party Öcalan to stop resistance to Turkish authorities are a step towards compromise or a tactical maneuver?
- I do not know about Öcalan, but as for Erdogan, he cannot be trusted. Before the conflict, Syria had good relationships with the administration of Erdogan, but now he is the enemy number one. He supports and finances terrorists. He also established training camps inside Turkey to train terrorists and smuggle them through our common border.

Soldier Jane: Good day, Mr. Ambassador! Since soviet times your country has had arsenal of chemical weapons, and several months ago, reports said Russian specialists were working in Syrian labs. Is it true?

-  The government of Syria has never spoke about having chemical weapons. The question was raised by our enemies to provoke other states against us. Syria does not have this kind of weapon, and even if it had, it surely would not have used it against its own people.

A teacher: Many Syrian students go abroad for study. What is the situation with education in your country?

- There are many decent educational institutions in Syrian. Our specialists (doctors, engineers) are welcomed all over the world. We send our students abroad to improve international cultural ties between civilizations. Currently, all universities still function in Syria. By the way, education, as well as medicine, is free of charge in our country.

Lida: Mr. Ambassador, my close relative is married to a Syrian citizen, lives and works in Syria. How dangerous is it for her to stay in the country? And why did rebels turn against Russians and Ukrainians? What did we do to them?

- In many regions of Syria, life runs its course - adults work, children study, establishments function. But there are trouble spots, where terrorists attack civilians and destroy infrastructure. Many foreigners have left the country because of the potential danger, but others have stayed and live their lives.    

I hope nothing bad will happen to them. Terrorists attack Russians and Ukrainians because these are friendly nations, which understand the situation and support our country. 

Abdulla: How is it working in a Christian country?

- Syria is a secular state. People of different beliefs live in peace with each other. Moreover, the biggest Orthodox Church is located in Syria, and we have many Christians among the population. In this respect, Ukraine does not differ much from Syria. 

Diplomat: What spheres of activity are promising for potential partnership between Syria and Ukraine?

- Many spheres, for example economy, science, education, transport...even military sphere.

Peace: Do you think there is racism in Ukraine?

- At the official level, no, but separate cases happen, as in any other country of the world.

Sasha: How would you estimate Ukraine's role in provision of international security?

- As a big European state Ukraine can play an important role in provision of international security. I believe Ukraine's authorities are able to provide the country a proper place on the international arena.

Mister X: Are there supporters of same-sex marriages in your country?

- Never heard of it.

Ivan Mykolayevych: Good day, Mr. Ambassador. What economic relations do Syria and Ukraine have?

- Our countries cooperate in many spheres, including economy and trade. The goods turnover, however, has decreased, mostly because the West has imposed a number of sanctions on Syria. Insurance companies either refuse to insure ships going to Syria or increase prices.

Grandpa: In soviet times USSR supported Syrian people. What are current relations between Syria and post-soviet states?

-Indeed, Syria used to receive good support from the socialist camp. The things have changed, though. Many countries have joined the European Union and adopted the policy of the West. However, there are countries, which maintain good relations with Syria - Russia, China and others.
By the way, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) countries also uphold the civilities with Syria. We are not alone.


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