The Syrian people stuck with their government, they stuck with their army, they stuck with their allies and now their suffering has been vindicated, says Ammar Waqqaf, founder and director of Gnosos consultancy. Abdel Bari Atwan joins the discussion.
Syria's President Bashar Assad has congratulated his country's military on breaking ISIS' three-year-long siege of Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria.
Government forces managed to fight their way into the embattled city, and link up with a brigade trapped there. The breakthrough by the Syrian Army was made possible by a Russian cruise missile strike on Islamic State militants, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed in a statement.
RT: The siege of Deir ez-Zor has now been broken, and the Syrian president has congratulated the country's military. How big a victory is this? What is the strategic or symbolic importance?
Ammar Waqqaf: This is in Syrian terms a historic day. There are many aspects to why this is hugely significant. The first aspect is that there is a group of Syrians, a segment of the Syrian population, who refused to say at a certain moment in time when all the omens said something different – that the government in Damascus is going to collapse imminently and so on. They refused to succumb to the incoming forces of Islamic fanatics, unlike other places. They stuck with their government, and they stuck with their army, and now their suffering has been vindicated. This marks a huge shift in the whole set of choices that have been made by various segments of the Syrian population throughout this crisis.
Another aspect of significance is that the government of President Bashar Assad will receive a huge boost in legitimacy, because of this victory. They are allying themselves with the right people, they are making good on their promises, and now when President Assad, for example, speaks that he will fight to get back every single inch of Syrian territory, people will believe him, and people will give him the necessary mandate to continue doing so. In both aspects, and there are other issues as well, but in these two aspects – this is a very huge and significant day.
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