Published September 22, 2013
“We are not going to have any cease-fire with the regime," vows the commander of the Free Syrian Army, General Salim Idris.
"They are trying to hide chemical materials and chemical weapons. This lying regime cannot be trusted, and we will continue fighting."
Idris was interviewed by Fox News from within Syria, where he not only dismissed the credibility of the Syrian chemical weapons list that was submitted to the United Nation’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on Saturday, but also warned U.N. diplomats not to trust Syrian President BasharAssad's pledge to cooperate in destroying Syria’s stockpiles.
The United Nations Security Council again meets this week to consider a resolution, based on the American-Russian framework, that is supposed to get rid of Assad’s massive chemical arsenal. But negotiations have apparently hit another impasse, as Russia refuses to budge on its promise to veto any resolution that includes the threat of force, if Assad does not comply.
On Sunday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused the U.S. and its allies of "blackmail," by insisting that the threat of force be included.
"It must have the threat of force. The regime don't understand any other language," says Idris, bluntly.
The defiant and fiery former Syrian government general, who defected last year, insists that the only way for his country to finally be at peace, is for Assad to resign and for his regime to fall.
He dismissed reports that the Syrian deputy prime minister has proposed peace talks in Geneva between the regime and the rebels, claiming that the fighting is at "a stalemate."
"I am sorry to tell you ... the regime is still using the air force, the air jets, the Scud missiles, the long distance artillery and all kinds of weapons to kill people. And I think when they are serious to have a cease-fire, they stop killing, they stop destruction," says the burly general.
"They are playing games to win time and deceive the international community and on behalf of my fighters, we will not go to Geneva. If there is a very clear signal that Bashar will leave the power, that is our condition. Without that we will not go to Geneva.”
Idris also predicts that his group "will in the very close future, give evidence to the international community that they…are hiding a lot of chemical weapons and chemical materials."
Idris also says the efforts by the international community must include eventual war crime charges against Assad, for his regime’s allegedly carrying out the chemical weapons attack August 21. Assad has denied that his government deployed chemical weapons, and instead has blamed the rebels.
"Everything is very clear in that resolution, that there is a war crime, there is a criminal regime, there is a criminal president who gave the orders to use chemical materials against his own civilian citizens. And as you know, the report is very clear, very good, but we would like at least to ask… what about the criminal president? Should he stay free? He must be brought to justice. That is very important to us, Syrians."
As President Obama and other heads of state from around the globe head to the U.N. for the annual General Assembly gathering, Idris urges caution.
"We hope that our friends in the international community be careful… The Russians, and the Iranians and the regime cannot be trusted. They are killing civilians and destroying our country.... We think that the international community must do more for the Syrian people."
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