CIA Director John Brennan acknowledges that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is in a “better and stronger” position in the Syrian conflict, compared to last year.
In an exclusive interview with Yahoo News at CIA headquarters, spoke about Daesh Takfiri terrorists and the situation in Syria, Iraq and Turkey.
“Relative to where he was on the battlefield last year, [Assad] is in a better and stronger position [today],” said the CIA chief, however, pointing the finger at him, arguing he is a “magnet” for extremist groups.
He also blamed Russia, which started striking Daesh in Syria last September, saying Moscow does not want “a political settlement” in the war-ravaged country.
“The Russians sometimes want their cake and eat it too as far as having the cooperation with us against terrorists but not wanting to do anything that’s going to lead to a political settlement that will have a more durable future as a far as a political agreement.”
Russia and Syria both consider the US as the major supporter of the terrorists, some of whom were trained in Jordan n 2012 to destabilize the government in Damascus.
Istanbul attack coming to US
Brennan warned that attacks such as the recent one in Istanbul’s Atatürk international airport on Tuesday could be carried out on the American soil.
“I am worried from the standpoint of an intelligence professional who looks at the capabilities of Daesh … and their determination to kill as many people as possible and to carry out attacks abroad,” he said. “I’d be surprised if Daesh is not trying to carry out that kind of attack in the United States.”
The attack, carried out by three suicide bombers, left 42 people dead and more than 200 others injured.
According to Brennan, building such vests for the sake of launching an attak inside the US is not very difficult.
“You look at what happened in the Turkish airport, these were suicide vests. It’s not that difficult to actually construct and fabricate a suicide vest … so if you have a determined enemy and individuals who are not concerned about escape, that they are going into it with a sense that they are going to die, that really does complicate your strategy in terms of preventing attacks.”
He speculated that the attack was carried out by the ISIL Takfiris, because Ankara has been part of a US-led coalition to allegedly take out Daesh.
“Turkey has been cracking down on some of the transit of foreign fighters who are flowing into, as well as out of, Turkey, and they are part of part of the coalition providing support, allowing their territory to be used by coalition aircraft, so there are a lot of reasons why Daesh would want to strike back,” he said. “It was a suicide bombing [which] is usually more a Daesh technique.”
He argued that Daesh attacks outside the territory under its control are frequently launched after setbacks and losses inside Syria and Iraq but not necessarily.
“Over the past year and a half they have made a more determined effort to carry out attacks abroad, and we see in terms of their plans, their preparations, the movement of people as well as propagandizing outside, exhorting, inciting a much more determined effort to carry out these external operations.”
He sounded confident that Daesh was being contained in the battlefields but voiced concern over the Takfiri organization’s capabilities beyond its territories.
“We’ve yet to really thwart Daesh’s ability to reach beyond the Syria-Iraqi borders and put in place some of the plans and preparations to carry out attacks,” said he American spymaster. “I am very concerned we have not had the success against Daesh in that environment as we’ve had in the core areas of Syria and Iraq.”
In recent months, the militants have been losing ground in both Syria and Iraq; however, terrorist attacks by Daesh affiliates still threaten countries across the world.
By Press TV