News / Middle East

Syria: Report on Assad Quotes 'Inaccurate'

FILE - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
FILE - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
VOA News
Syrian state media have dismissed as "inaccurate" a report that President Bashar al-Assad told visiting Russian lawmakers he has no intention of giving up power and the issue is not up for discussion.

The conflicting reports come just days ahead of an internationally sponsored peace conference on Syria.

The Russian news agency Interfax had quoted Mr. Assad as saying "if we had wanted to give up, we would have surrendered from the start."

"This issue is not up for discussion," he reportedly said Sunday in remarks translated into Russian.

Syria's government and the opposition are due to participate in peace talks in Switzerland beginning Wednesday, with Mr. Assad's role in Syria's future expected to be a key stumbling block.

  • Fighters from the Free Syrian Army's Saif al-Umayyad brigade prepare rockets to be launched towards forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Jan. 16, 2014.
  • Men ride a motorbike past buildings damaged by what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Daraya, Jan. 15, 2014.
  • Smoke rises from buildings after what activists said was shelling from forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the besieged area of Homs, Jan. 15, 2014.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters walk at the Tameko pharmaceutical factory after the FSA claimed to have taken control of the factory, in eastern al-Ghouta, near Damascus, Jan. 14, 2014.
  • A girl carries her belongings as she walks on rubble at a site hit by what activists said was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Arbeen, Jan. 14, 2014.
  • This SANA photo shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad speaking to female preachers from mosques in Damascus and its countryside and educators of religious high schools and institutes in Damascus, Jan. 14, 2014.
  • Syrian refugees wait to enter Turkey on the Syrian-Turkish border in Shamm Alqrain village, Jan. 13, 2014.
  • Smoke rises from what activists said were explosive barrels thrown from helicopters on Daria outside Damascus, Jan. 12, 2014.
  • Damaged buildings are pictured in the besieged area of Homs, Jan. 12, 2014.
  • Residents inspect the damage caused by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant suicide bombers at the Tawhid Brigade and Al-Fateh brigade headquarters in Aleppo, Jan. 12, 2014.

The Geneva 2 meeting aims to create a transitional government with full executive powers.

While few expect the talks will reach this goal, its supporters are hoping the discussions will at least result in increased humanitarian access and local cease-fires to make life easier for Syrian civilians.

The Syrian National Coalition - the country's main political opposition grouping in exile - has agreed to attend the talks. A senior SNC official said its leadership will meet later Sunday in Istanbul to name members of the delegation.

The Coalition was under huge pressure from its Western and Arab sponsors to attend the peace talks and its decision to go was welcomed by the United States, Britain and Russia.

But the SNC has little influence on the ground in Syria and many rebel military units have rejected its authority.

The Syrian government considers all rebel forces to be terrorists, and has tried to shift the focus of the talks from forming a new government to fighting extremism.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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Comment Sorting
by: alhassan fofanah from: luanda angola
January 22, 2014 2:47 AM
dear voa,pleased tell the humanright lawyer to shutup, why cant he collect pictures from gtm prison were mass of abuse is happen everyday ,everyhour ,everyminite ,doublestandard,assad is fighing the same terrie help. tran ,and finance by usa, these guy will endup at your doorstep,the end will justifie the means.what goes around comes around,

by: Anonymous
January 20, 2014 6:28 PM
No surprise to any of us but... Now he must be disabled.

A team of internationally renowned war crimes prosecutors and forensic experts has found "direct evidence" of "systematic torture and killing" by the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, the lawyers on the team say in a new report.

Their report, based on thousands of photographs of dead bodies of alleged detainees killed in Syrian government custody, would stand up in an international criminal tribunal, the group says.

by: Nicholas A. Boateng from: Kumasi- Ghana
January 19, 2014 7:30 PM
Ban Ki Moon has woefully failed! He should bow down his head in shame! Innocent human beings are being butchered everyday, and the world body is just looking on, why? This animal called Assad is killing innocent women, children,and you are happy collecting your salaries every month! Wicked leaders !!!!

by: Anonymous
January 19, 2014 2:20 PM
He has to be arrested for his crimes, that is all there is to it.
Whether it be by the Syrians or the International Criminal Court, this guy killed tens of thousands of innocent unarmed civilians. It's time the world put the guy in cuffs and serve him his penalty. He has to pay for each and every Syrian he has murdered, period. The problem is, he doesn't see anything he has done (murdering unarmed men, women and children) as anything wrong. He now has to face those families now, in a judicial courtroom.

He is most definately in hiding , and trying to use the SAA to protect himself from prosecution. He knows he did the crimes, he isn't that stupid. (Even though he actually believes his own lies).

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