News / Middle East

Assad Outlines His View of Syria Solution

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks at the Opera House in Damascus January 6, 2013, in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA.
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks at the Opera House in Damascus January 6, 2013, in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA.
Edward Yeranian
Looking tired, but sounding confident, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told a crowd of supporters at the Damascus opera house Sunday that he is prepared to hold a dialogue with the opposition, if it observes a cease-fire first. 

Opposition leaders dismissed the offer, saying it was devoid of substance.

Assad's supporters gave him a lengthy ovation following his first speech to the nation in more than six months. The Syrian president offered his vision for a dialogue with the opposition and his proposal for a possible solution to the 22-month-old conflict.

According to that solution, the onus is on the opposition to stop armed operations first, and for its foreign backers to stop supporting them, as well.

Assad says the funding and arming of rebel fighters must stop first, along with the halt of what he calls terrorist operations by those fighters, allowing refugees to return home in peace.  At that point, he says, government forces will cease operations, keeping the right to return fire.

Previous attempts at a cease-fire have collapsed over opposition insistence that both sides halt military operations simultaneously. U.N. observers withdrew from the country last spring after violence continued unabated, while a brief cease-fire after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan quickly collapsed.

Assad's proposal for a dialogue with the opposition appears to come on his own terms as well, with him refusing to step down and the current government remaining in place while a national dialogue begins.

He says the current government will begin holding intense discussions with all sectors of Syrian society in order to hold a national dialogue conference, including all parties interested in a solution to the crisis, both inside and outside Syria.

In previous attempts at a national dialogue under the auspices of the Arab League, Assad tried to ignore or exclude various components of the opposition outside Syria. This time, however, he included opposition elements both inside and outside the country.

​The Syrian president, nevertheless, continued to refer to the armed opposition as "terrorists" and claimed there was no authentic "revolution" in his country.

He says a revolution must have a leader and must have an intellectual foundation. In this case, he argues, there is no leader and no intellectual foundation, because the supporters of the movement are "a clique of criminals" trying to harm the people.

Assad also accused the West of fomenting the conflict in Syria in order to weaken his country and to attract elements of al-Qaida, there, to be rid of them, elsewhere. He went on to thank both Russia and China for supporting his government.

Opposition leaders Walid Bunni and Samir al-Taqi both dismissed the speech, insisting that it contained "nothing new." One Arab analyst told Al-Arabiya TV that Assad was “living in a dream world,” since the rebels are now “at the gates of his palace.”

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Tran Nga from: Occupied Land, Khmerkrom
January 07, 2013 1:48 AM
Too late Boy, only life imprisonment or execution is the solution for you Mr Assad. This world seems too no space for you now even your close allied Russia also trying to distance from you. Go to Hell, Assad.

by: Igor from: Russia
January 06, 2013 10:29 PM
President Bashar al-Assad is right to refer to the free rebel fighters as terrorists. They belong to several different groups of terrorists haboured, supported, funded, directed by the US and its allies. Their leaders are carefully chosen and recognized by the West. The Western propaganda instruments embroider them as "fighters for freedom and democracy" and blame President Bashar al-Assad for everything. But the true nature of those terrorists remain unchanged and the West would be their next victims if they gained power in Syria.

by: bf from: eu
January 06, 2013 5:19 PM
Please dont send our youngsters(Troops) over there. What good did we do in Iraq, Afghanistan and the rest of the places. Give the politicians a gun and send them. Lets see what benefits they get when they come back on cruthes!!!??

by: Anonymous
January 06, 2013 4:31 PM
Assad is correct in pointing out the foreign hand in the "glove" controlling the so called "rebels". The vaneer of freedom fighters has worn off exposing the true nature and make up of the Syrian governments opponents of Syria. All the while, the MSM has given cover and succor to these fiendish terrorists, by robotically repeating only their version of events. So this is the obvious conclusion, we, the public have awakened to, after such a dense fog of propaganda from all around us.

by: Anonymous
January 06, 2013 3:05 PM
Again labeling everyone in opposition as a terrorist. An insult on the Syrian people of the highest level. Meenwhile he continues to terrorize the entire population with snipers, missles, helicopters, tanks, and airplanes dropping bombs on civilians in civilian neighborhoods. No mention of the cluster bombs, phospherous bombs, or any of the victims he killed. Trying to spin the blame of his actions on so called "Terrorists". The crowd watching his speech were his military thugs and their families. Of course they are going to clap, he signs their paycheck. They likely got a bonus for showing up for the show. Bashar al Assad is a disgrace to the world not just Syria. How anyone can kill so many civilians and think they can get away with it is just plain crazy.

by: Anonymous
January 06, 2013 8:26 AM
" Rights groups estimate that 60,000 people have been killed in Syria since President Assad began violently cracking down on what started as peaceful pro-democracy protests in March 2011. The protests evolved into an armed rebellion aimed at ending the Assad family's four-decade authoritarian rule." VOA, you have got to be joking. This line that is fed to the public is a BRAZEN LIE, AND YOU KNOW IT!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs