News / Middle East

Syria's Assad: War Is Only Way to End Terrorism

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (L) delivers a speech while attending an Iftar, or breaking fast session, during the Muslim month of Ramadan in Damascus, Aug. 4, 2013.
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (L) delivers a speech while attending an Iftar, or breaking fast session, during the Muslim month of Ramadan in Damascus, Aug. 4, 2013.
Reuters
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said crushing “terrorists” must come before any political solution to end the crisis in his country, dimming hopes of an international peace conference any time soon.

Speaking in Damascus, Assad praised recent gains by his military forces across the country and said Syria can finish off the insurgency “within months” if people fight with the army through a “popular war.”

“How can we put an end to this battle and turn the table on others and restore security and stability? It is through this way [popular war]... unity between the army and people to terminate terrorism," said Assad.

For more than two years, Assad has been battling a revolt against his rule, which turned into a civil war.

After looking close to defeat, his forces - backed by Lebanese Hezbollah militants - have pushed the rebels outside the capital and made gains in the central province of Homs and others areas.

The United States, Russia and the United Nations are still working to convene a meeting in Geneva between the Syrian government and opposition groups to broker a peace deal.

Russia is an ally and arms supplier of Assad, and, along with China, has blocked several U.N. Security Council resolutions by the United States and European powers to impose sanctions on the leader.

Attempts to organize a so-called “Geneva II” peace conference on Syria to revive a political transition plan agreed in the Swiss city in June 2012 have been futile.

'Terrorism and politics are opposites'

U.N. diplomats say it is increasingly unlikely that such a conference will take place any time soon, if at all.

“Terrorism and politics are complete opposites,” said Assad, whose government refers to all rebel groups and many opposition figures fighting for his ouster as “terrorists.”

“There can not be political action and progress on the political track while terrorism hits everywhere,” Assad told prominent members of Syria's clergy, business and arts community on Sunday night at an “iftar," or meal to break the fast during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

“No solution can be reached with terror except by striking it with an iron fist,” he added, in remarks run by the Syrian state news agency SANA on Monday.

Assad mocked the Syrian National Coalition, the western-backed opposition, as being morally bankrupt and “unpatriotic," chasing positions of power, changing its stance regularly and receiving Gulf money.

Assad, whose family has ruled Syria for more than four decades, has remained defiant throughout the conflict. As war rages on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, he has carried out day-to-day presidential duties and attended ceremonies.

His wife, Asma, was shown on pro-Assad television channels preparing a charitable iftar meal for orphans on Sunday.

The presence of foreign fighters has grown among rebel ranks and al-Qaida-linked groups have taken control of some opposition-held territory, worrying supporters of the opposition in the west and the Middle East.

Assad, wearing a suit and looking relaxed, said that most regional and Arab countries who supported the opposition have “changed their view toward the reality” of events after two and half years of war.

He said that there are “no exceptions to any means” he would employ to help Syria out of the crisis.

U.N. investigators say Assad's forces have carried out war crimes including unlawful killing, torture, sexual violence, indiscriminate attacks and pillaging in what appears to be a state-directed policy.

They say rebels also have committed war crimes, including executions, though on a lesser scale.

Over 100,000 people have died in Syria's civil war and millions have been displaced. Protesters took to the streets in March 2011 to called for democratic reforms, but were fired on by security forces, leading to an armed uprising.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid