News / Middle East

Assad Says Only Foreign Invasion Can Threaten Him

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (C) is seen during an interview with the al-Thawra newspaper in Damascus in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA, July 3, 2013
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (C) is seen during an interview with the al-Thawra newspaper in Damascus in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA, July 3, 2013
Reuters
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he and his government would survive the civil war having endured everything his opponents could do to topple him and only the distant prospect of direct foreign military intervention could change that.

After steady rebel gains in the first two years of civil war, Syria became stuck in a bloody stalemate lasting months until a June government offensive that led to the capture of a strategic border town. Momentum now looks to be behind Assad.

"This was their goal in hitting our infrastructure, hitting our economy, and creating complete chaos in society so that we would become a failed state,'' Assad said in an interview with Syria's official Thawra newspaper published on Thursday. "So far we have not reached that stage.''

The only factor that could undermine the resilience of the government, he said, was direct foreign intervention. But he said that was a unlikely due to foreign powers' conflicting views of an opposition movement increasingly overtaken by radical Islamist militants.

"They have used every material, emotional and psychological means available to them. The only option they have is direct foreign intervention,'' he said. "But there is hesitation and rejection (of intervention) from most countries so if we can overcome this stage with resoluteness and awareness, we have nothing more to fear.''

The two-year uprising against Assad, whose family has ruled Syria for more than four decades, began as peaceful protests but became militarized after an army crackdown.

The rebels remain strong in the north of Syria, but Assad has been slowly reinforcing his forces there in the hope of retaking territory. Fierce fighting is raging around several cities in central Syria and near the capital.

Assad's counter-offensive led the United States to announce last month military support for the opposition, a move it said would restore the balance of power ahead of any peace talks.

The United States and Russia, Assad's main weapons supplier, have proposed a "Geneva 2'' peace conference but their deadlock over Syria has meant little progress on the diplomatic front.

Despite what the president acknowledged was widespread suffering in his country, he said his government and its supporters had proved they could weather the storm.

 Assad said the country's ability to avoid "failed state'' status was due in large part to Syrian businessmen and workers who continued to do their jobs despite the chaos.

The Syrian people remain unbroken in every sense of the word. There is an explosion, and within minutes of the cleanup, life goes back to normal,'' Assad said. "They go to work even as they expect terrorist rockets and terrorist explosions and suicide bombings to happen at any moment.''

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid