News / Middle East

Assad Insists Syrian People Still Support Him

VOA News
Syria's embattled President Bashar al-Assad is insisting that he still has the support of the Syrian people and army, even as violence raged on and reports emerged that more of his military officers defected to Turkey.

In portions of an interview aired Friday by Russia Today television, President Assad acknowledged that "divisions" exist within his country. But he denied that the 19-month uprising against him is a civil war.

"The problem is not between me and the people," insisted Assad. "I do not have a problem with the people because the United States is against me and the West is against me and many other Arab countries, including Turkey, which is not Arab of course, is against me. If the Syrian people are against me, how can I be here?"

As Syrian government forces pounded rebel targets across the country Friday, Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reported that at least 26 military officers, including two generals and 11 colonels, fled across the border. Turkish officials also say more than 8,000 Syrians fled violence in Syria since Thursday, bringing the total number of refugees in Turkey to around 120,000.


Meanwhile, Syria's fractured opposition meeting in Qatar were reported to be near an agreement on the formation of an inclusive government-in-waiting that would allow for more coordinated action against Assad's government. Several participants in the talks, which include the Syrian National Council (SNC), Islamists, leftists, and secularists, reported progress, saying a new leadership could be agreed upon by Friday.

The opposition hopes new leadership will attract international support for the rebel uprising. The U.S. has said the SNC, the main group in exile, cannot be considered as the legitimate leader and called for the opposition to firmly reject infiltration by Islamist militants in the fight to oust Assad.

Safe haven offer rejected

President Assad, meanwhile, firmly rejected offers to accept safe haven outside his country. In portions of the interview that aired Thursday on Russia Today, the 47-year-old leader promised to "live and die in Syria."

British Prime Minister David Cameron suggested earlier this week that Assad could be allowed safe passage if that would guarantee an end to the country's civil war.

The Syrian conflict, which began as a protest movement against the rule of President Assad, is entering its 20th month. An estimated 36,000 people have died as the government crackdown against protesters developed into a full-blown civil war.

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Comment Sorting
by: Rabbani from: UK
November 11, 2012 11:50 AM
What is the point of having commenst f you are only going to publish the ones which suit your bias reporting and opinions? Yes I did post a comment, noting wrong with it, except t highlighted your bias in this article

by: Rabbani from: Sweden-UK
November 11, 2012 2:25 AM
Why do you not tell it like it is? the truth the facts? the Syrian love Assad that is a fact!!
there is no civil war in Syria. The turmoil consists of an invasion of Syria by foreign forces organized by Turkey, Jordan and the Hariri clan in Lebanon. The funding and training along with special forces and intelliegence support to enable terrorist attacks and mass murder; comes from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with logistic and unknown other support from the U.S., France and the British.

by: Anonymous
November 09, 2012 11:55 PM
If the Syrian people are against you how can you be there Assad? You ask?

Simple, the Syrian Opposition simply haven't gotten you in their gun sights yet. Only reason you are still there is because you are using your military to try and stay in power. News for you, you have already crumbled and you are only holding on by a fine thread. Your days are over as a leader of Syria, you are just taking up space of the new Syria to come once you are permanently removed by force.

Of course the West and Turkey are against Assad, number one reason is human rights violations and war crimes. I think there is a lot more than the west and Turkey against the ex Syrian dictator. Displacing hundreds of thousands of people, bombing civillian neighbourhoods, killing the children, the mothers, the elderly... The list goes on, everyone hates a cold blooded killer, so get your head out of your butt Assad. There is a whole lot more that hate you.

The majority of Syria is against Assad, the only ones who aren't against Assad is the minority scared for their safety or the people getting paid in cash by Assad.

Long live Syria, and the people!
To hell with Assad.

by: Truesage Idowu from: Nigeria
November 09, 2012 7:47 PM
This reminds me of Moammar Gadhafi's statement.
"My people love me all my people love me"
In Response

by: Anonymous
November 10, 2012 4:38 AM
Exactly the same yes. We will see what Assad says when he is captured on the upcoming video. I wonder if they will treat him just as good as they did Gadhafi, Assad better hope so.

by: Nikos Retsos from: Chicago
November 09, 2012 8:27 AM
I am certain that Assad is not in denial, and his gloomy demeanor during meeting with foreign officials and reporters - as shown in Russian TV- is a clear indication that he feels his impeding doom. But he cannot afford to admit that publicly fearing that such an admission might create a panic within his regime, which might cause his army to implode! It happened to Iran's Shah Reza Pahlevi, Romania's Nicolae Chaucesku, Serbia's Slobodan Miloshevik, and Ivory Coast's Lauren Gbagdo. They tried to play cool up to their last moments, but they knew - as I am sure Bashar Assad does- that their fate was sealed.

Bashar Assad knows that his fate is sealed, and I am sure he has packed his belonings, has arranged his destination with a host country - probably Iran or Russia, and has an airplane on standby in the tarmac of Damascus airport ready to fly him out. But he has also decided to wait up to the last minute, hoping that Syria's splintered opposition to his regime might fizzle out. Nikos Retsos, retired professor
In Response

by: Anonymous
November 09, 2012 11:58 PM
You are right, he already has his escape planned.
I hope either the FSA or the Syrian Military point their guns at Assad and stop him as he is trying to run away.

Assad is a weasel, until he is cornernered he will continue to act barbaric. I hope his capture is posted on youtube soon when it happens.

by: kahn keller from: kingsport
November 09, 2012 7:58 AM
hummmmm... this guy is not the sharpest tool in the box...just
who does he think is shooting at his military?...oh yes...

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