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.

You May Like

Germany Celebrates 25 Years of Unity

October 3 is a public holiday, marking the day in 1990 when East Germany and West Germany reunited More

Analysts: Russia's Syria Strikes Shake Regional Powers

If Moscow bolsters Assad, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf countries may feel obliged to step in More

Video Innovative Nano-Tech Water Filter Prevents Disease

It can absorb contaminants like copper, bacteria, viruses and pesticides, says Askwar Hilonga, who has been successfully trying out his product in Arusha More

This forum has been closed.
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...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs