Syrian officials meet Australian solidarity delegation

Meeting with Speaker of the People’s Assembly Mohammad Jihad al-Laham

During the meeting with an Australian solidarity delegation, Speaker of the People’s Assembly Mohammad Jihad al-Laham stressed the need for a real international will to fight terrorism and expose its funders, foremost Saudi Arabia. al-Laham also highlighted the important role the academics, intellectuals and men of media and politics could play in raising awareness of the dangers of terrorism.

He warned that terrorism does not stop at the border of one country but goes beyond to cross into other countries, noting that Syria is facing an organized international terrorism carried out by terrorist groups backed by the US and the West and funded by some Arab regimes, on top being Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The Speaker also referred to the blocking of the Syrian media channels by some countries, which he said aims to cover up the terrorists’ crimes in a bid to block shaping a public opinion that is opposed to the terrorism-backing policies of those countries.

He also cited the unfair economic blockade that the conspiring countries have imposed on Syria outside the UN Security Council targeting the most basic necessities of citizens’ lives, mainly food and medicine.

Al-Laham affirmed that the Syrian state insists on the need for a peaceful political solution to the crisis and going for the ballot boxes with rejection of any foreign interferences.

While also asserting Syria’s rejection of imposition of conditions and dictations, the Speaker underlined that the decisions of those who call themselves “opposition abroad” are subject to the conspiring countries and that this opposition has no popular basis to build on in any coming election.

For his part, Tim Anderson, head of the Australian delegation that comprises activists from the "Hands Off Syria" movement and academic, media and political figures, said the delegation’s visit aims to closely inspect the reality of the situation on the ground away from the misleading practiced by some foreign media channels.

He added that the delegation also aims to investigate into Australian citizens’ engaging in the fighting along the armed groups in Syria so as to know the sides and countries which have offered them financial, military and logistic support.

In this context, Chairman of the Executive Committee for the Australian WikiLeaks Party John Shipton said his party has many files and documents that condemn a number of Western states which have been backing terrorism in Syria.

Health Minister voices commitment to providing health services despite challenges

During the meeting with the Australian delegation, Health Minister Dr. Saad al-Nayef called on international organizations and civil societies to mobilize to lift the economic embargo imposed on Syria and force the countries that support armed groups to stop them from targeting health establishments, ambulances and medical convoys.

Al-Nayef asserted that the health sector is stable and that the ministry is committed to providing its free services without discrimination, despite the unprecedented challenges and pressure it has been facing for three years.

He said that the Ministry is working to restore hospitals damaged by terrorism, asking the delegation to inspect the state of the health sector to relay the truth about it to the Australian public opinion.

For his part, Anderson noted that the fact that the health sector continues to provide free services to citizens despite the difficult circumstances is a big achievement.

Endowments Minister: Syria has been a model of religious coexistence for thousands of year

In a similar meeting, Minister of Religious Endowments (Awqaf) Mohammad Abdelsattar al-Sayyed affirmed to the Australian delegation that Syria is the cradle of Christianity and has been a model of Muslim-Christian coexistence of thousands of years.

Al-Sayyed stressed that the true message of Islam is one of compassion and moderation which is embodied by Syria, which is why takfiri Wahabi groups have been targeting it for three years and committing unimaginable atrocities against its people, including attacks on Islamic and Christian sites and figures and abduction of bishops and nuns.

For their part, members of the delegation said that they will relay the truth about coexistence in Syria which they witnessed firsthand.

They also asked to send Syrian religious figures to Australia to present the true moderate face of Islam to Australians and counteract the preaching of extremists who visit it.

Grand Mufti: Syria will always be the home of civilization and meeting point for cultures

Similarly, Grand Mufti of the Republic Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun affirmed to the delegation that Syria was and always will be the home of civilization and a meeting point for cultures.

He said that Syria, the land of peace, is facing a conspiracy which targets its cultural and civilized diversity and its moderate Islam which rejects extremism.

Damascus University Rector: Education proceeding normally despite terrorism

In yet another meeting, Rector of Damascus University Mohammad Amer al-Mardini affirmed to the delegation that education in Syria is proceeding normally despite the persistent attempts of terrorists to stop it.

He also voiced readiness to expand cooperation between Damascus University and Australian universities.

Members of the Australian delegation visited the memorial dedicated to the martyrs from Syrian universities and the site of the terrorist attack which claimed several students' lives in the Architectural Engineering Faculty.