News / Middle East

Backers of Syria's Assad Defiant, Say He Will Prevail

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, center, chats with military personnel during visit to military site in Daraya,Aug. 1, 2013, SANA handout photo.
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, center, chats with military personnel during visit to military site in Daraya,Aug. 1, 2013, SANA handout photo.
Elizabeth Arrott
Supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad say they are confident his government can withstand any strike by the United States, while rejecting the U.S. case that Assad used chemical weapons against fellow Syrians.

Residents of Damascus are bracing for what some believe could be a U.S. missile strike any hour.  

But Nahla Essa, a deputy dean at Damascus University, says many are taking the threat in stride.

Speaking by phone from the capital, she says some people are stocking up on food, in case an attack keeps them from going out for several days. But she expresses confidence in the Syrian military, as well as state and civil institutions, saying they are all in a state of full readiness.

It is never easy talking to people in Damascus, where most are well aware of the consequences of speaking out against the government. And while there are tentative signs that fear of reprisals may be decreasing, it is a rare few willing to speak on the record.

But two-and-a-half years into an increasingly sectarian war in which some of the leading opponents are linked to al-Qaida, there remain people loyal to the government — and opposed to the United States.

"We are ready to defend our country," said Bassam Abu Abdullah, director of the Damascus Center for Strategic Studies. "We know that [U.S. Secretary of State] Mr. John Kerry [showed on Friday] he has nothing about chemical weapons, and they want to convince all the world that the Syrian government used these chemical weapon. It's absolutely not right and they have disinformed the public opinion. As it was in 2003."

2003 is a reference to the Iraq War, and the faulty intelligence used by the United States as an argument for invasion.

But for Essa, the intelligence being presented is only part of the problem. She says what America calls a humanitarian intervention is regarded by Syria as un-humanitarian and unethical. She says it has no justification — only highlighted by what she calls the U.S. government's circumstantial case.

Analyst Abu Abdullah expresses some sympathy for President Barack Obama, arguing that he has been pressured by various groups, including, he alleges, Syrian enemy Israel, into his current position.

“The situation is difficult because President Obama, he said that we will finish the era of wars. And he's against war but now again he started a war. There is lobbying against him,” he said.

And while he believes the U.S. will keep itself to a limited strike, he warns the situation could spiral out of control, and “the era of war” could return.

“America I think should remember Iraq, should remember Afghanistan, should remember Vietnam," he said. "And here in Syria it is more difficult for them because Syria is not alone. We have our allies."

He points to Syrian allies Hezbollah, in Lebanon, as well as Iran and Russia, adding “America will see many surprises.”

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
September 01, 2013 1:51 AM
you shouldn't believe everything you see on the TV
the government did not need to use any sort of chemical weapon, they were already the higher hand in the war. Why do you think that Assad is so stupid to give U.S the one and only reason for intervention? Why didn't he use chemical weapons when he was most desperate earlier in the game?
Just think a little. later on you will surely say that the obama administration has fooled us and son on. and history repeats itself!!


by: Anonymous
August 31, 2013 10:44 PM
The International Criminal Court has to continue to go after assad at any cost. Regardless of what China or Russia says, a criminal is a criminal regardless of what any other people say. Facts are facts and crimes are crimes. Interpol should have a warrant for his arrest.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid