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

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers 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.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

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