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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid