Mekdad asks whether the West and the Europeans are finally ready to “admit that they have failed” with their plan to overthrow the Syrian government and replace Assad with a “puppet of the West.” There is a wounded tone to his words. Here too, Mekdad says, people suffered, were displaced and killed.
The rebels had no air force, so they could not inflict the same damage as the regime, which is responsible for by far the largest number of civilian deaths. But the rebels also did harm to people in the Assad-held territories. For instance, they kidnapped Mekdad’s 12-year-old nephew and his elderly father. The kidnappers’ goal was to secure the release of prisoners. Mekdad’s father died shortly after he was exchanged for rebel prisoners. The deputy foreign minister alleges that the mastermind behind the kidnapping is now in Germany, where he has been granted asylum. Mekdad asserts that many of the Syrians who fled to Germany are military draft dodgers, traitors or criminals.
He speaks as if the war were already over, as if the fighting in East Ghouta were merely a final glimmer. “Reconstruction” has already begun, says Mekdad. But with what funds or means?