Syrian state newspapers said on Sunday that al-Qaeda is leading the terrorist attacks in the country with the support of the United States and some Arab governments.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Lizzie Phelan, journalist and broadcaster, to further discuss the issue. The following is a transcription of the interview.

Press TV: This isn’t the first time al-Qaeda has been implicated in the terrorist attacks and unrest in Syria. Do you think that al-Qaeda is being used as a proxy to stir up the fragile situation in Syria?

Phelan: Well, there’s absolutely no question about it. It’s not just the Syrian government who has laid the blame for much of these attacks on al-Qaeda, al-Qaeda themselves have claimed responsibility, numerous times, for the terrorist attacks that have taken place in Syria, and certain members of the leadership have declared their support for the illegal insurrection in Syria.

Their links to the West are again no secret. Their links to the West, again, go back a very long way. Hillary Clinton herself has stated on public record that the United States is responsible for supporting al-Qaeda in, most famously, Afghanistan back in the 80s.

That relationship continues, the most recent example being in Libya. Of course, the Libyan Islamic fighting group is very well known to be a wing of al-Qaeda in Libya.

This is no secret. It’s not a claim made by the Syrian government. It just shows how obscene it is that today we had an attack in the very heart of Damascus, in a densely populated area, with an RPG on their central bank.

How obscene is it that there isn’t an immediate condemnation by the United Nations and an immediate demand that those complicit in the attack, i.e. those supplying the RPGs and other weapons to these terrorists, be immediately stopped by any means necessary and that justice be served?

What do I mean by that? I mean those who are complicit in these attacks are, of course, the NATO powers, Israel – which is a de facto NATO member – and its allies in the Persian Gulf, and that an arrest warrant for their leadership, i.e. the leadership in the United States, Britain, etc, should be immediately issued; and that their ability to create such bloodshed possible should be stopped by any means necessary.

‘By any means necessary’ I mean that far from the wishy-washy calls from [Bashar] Assad’s government to stop the violence – in fact, Assad’s government should be authorized by the United Nations to fulfill its obligations under international law to protect its people, civilians and military alike and, of course, this would have to be with the use of force because terrorists who are actively committing violence cannot be stopped by asking them to have a cup of coffee.

These terrorists have refused time and time again and made clear that they continue to refuse to talk. So the only way for the Syrian people to be defended from them is the use of force.

So, the situation now is very critical. In the interests of protecting the Syrian people, there really can’t be halfway measures.

I’d just like to add, also, that it’s really obscene that Major General Robert Mood from Norway has been appointed as the head of the UN observer mission to Syria. How is it that a high ranking member of the military of one of NATO’s founding members is expected to lead a peace mission of he, of course, has a vested interest in carrying out the agenda of his country which, as I mentioned, is a NATO member? NATO has been cleared from the outset which is, of course, to force a regime change by no other means than violence.

Press TV: Russia has called the recent terrorist attacks barbaric in nature and said the opponents in Damascus are trying to undermine the ceasefire.

NATO, on the other hand, has said that Damascus is not doing its part in upholding the ceasefire. How would you describe the conflicting international reaction to the situation in Syria in the wake of Annan’s six-point peace plan?

Phelan: It’s absolutely clear that not only has the ceasefire been undermined, it has been outright violated by the NATO powers who have made very clear that they are providing unlimited support to armed terrorists.

The media now like Sky News, for example, did a report today openly admitting that – they call them – the “armed-opposition groups” inside Syria are killing dozens of soldiers just in certain areas every single day.

Sky News very cleverly refers to terrorists as “armed-opposition groups”. Of course, Sky News is serving the foreign policy agenda of Britain and the United States, etc.

These are not “armed opposition groups” which implies legitimacy, they are terrorists; and if they are carrying out similar acts in any Western country or any Western satellite country, they would be called what they are and that is terrorists.

The NATO powers claim that the Syrian government is responsible for violating the ceasefire. It really shouldn’t be treated with any kind of seriousness what-so-ever because NATO has a vested interest. NATO is a criminal player in this current conflict.

Russia, on the contrary, has been a power that has consistently been very, very balanced.

Actually, under international law, all members of the United Nations, instead calling for both sides to stop violence, they should be recognizing that this is a conflict where by we have the Syrian state trying to protect the sovereignty of its country and instead of stopping violence it has the right to use violence to defend its territory.

On the other hand, we have a criminal axis, which are the NATO powers, and their proxies, the armed insurgence.

Russia’s interests so far has been demonstrated just to call for dialogue.

On the other hand, senior members of the NATO powers, for example William Hague, Nicolas Sarkozy, have outright called for violation of international law, i.e. increased support for those who have claimed responsibility for shedding civilian blood.