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

As AIDS Epidemic Matures, Workplaces Adapt

Issue of AIDS in workplace is one of many social issues being discussed at the 20th International Aids Conference in Australia More

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid