News / Middle East

Syrian President Begins Third Term

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad reviews a guard of honor before his swearing-in for a new seven-year term at the presidential palace in Damascus, July 16, 2014, in this picture released by Syria's national news agency SANA.
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad reviews a guard of honor before his swearing-in for a new seven-year term at the presidential palace in Damascus, July 16, 2014, in this picture released by Syria's national news agency SANA.
Edward Yeranian

Syrian President Bashar al Assad took the oath of office Wednesday for a third seven year term in office, amid a three-year-old civil war across much of the country.

Unlike his two previous ceremonies, President Assad took the oath of office at the presidential palace, rather than in front of parliament.  Several analysts suggest the move was made for security reasons.

Assad succeeded his father as president in 2000 and has weathered a brutal and bitter conflict for the past three years.  The Syrian president struck a tone of confidence, blasting his enemies inside and outside the country.

He insists Arab and Western countries that have supported his opponents, whom he calls “terrorists,” will soon pay a price for that support.

Assad also thanked his close allies, Russia, China, Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah group for helping his government.  He said his allies support the principle of non-interference in the domestic affairs of a U.N. member state, which is part of the U.N. Charter.

The embattled Syrian president also thanked those he called the “honorable” Syrian people for voting for him, insisting it was their response to the Arab Spring slogan that the people “want the downfall of the regime.”  

Assad complained the fighting in Syria had devastated the country's economy, ruining its once vibrant tourism business, despoiling its infrastructure, including electricity stations, gas pipelines and oil fields in the north and east of the country.  “But,” he said,”if the price Syria has paid is high, then our achievements in the future will be even higher.”

Syria scholar Joshua Landis heads the University of Oklahoma Middle East studies department.  He says Assad sounded confident, because things have been going his way lately.

"His military campaigns have been by and large successful, whether it is in the Qalamoun region in shutting off the Lebanese back door to rebels, whether it is in retaking Homs, surrounding neighborhoods in Damascus and Aleppo.  He is well on his way to retaking Aleppo, Syria's northern capital.  So, he has struck a tone of confidence,” said Landis.

But Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis chief Riad Kahwaji told VOA Assad was living in a world that is “delusional.”

“[Assad] is still talking about Syria as if nothing is really happening.  He does not acknowledge that there is a civil war happening ... does not want to acknowledge that a large chunk of the country is out of control, out of his control, and that he is in virtual isolation and that more than half of the Syria [electorate] did not even have the chance to vote or have a say in this last election,” said Kahwaji.

American University of Beirut political scientist Hilal Khashan said Assad was profiting from the “protracted conflict in his country and that he “seems to enjoy it” because it “keeps him in power.”  Khashan argued the Syria conflict was “not likely to end any time soon,” and Assad may well be in power for a long time to come. 

You May Like

Photogallery Kyiv: Russian Forces Tightening Grip on East

And new United Nations report documents human rights abuses committed by both sides in conflict More

Locust Swarms Fill Antananarivo Skies

FAO-led control efforts halted plague More

South Africa’s Plan to Move Rhinos May Not Stop Poaching

Experts say international coordination needed to follow the money trail and bring down rhino horn kingpins More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
July 16, 2014 11:10 AM
From Red Line to Red Carpet ,now who would believe in western support for freedom?? Too bad for the FSA and a disappointment to those that say Assad is closer to his ouster! Guess a country is only a superpower when it has a leader that stands on a good will and not waiting on his congress that will obviously politicize the matter while saving his term without war only to leave a greater war for upcoming leaders.


by: meanbill from: USA
July 16, 2014 10:28 AM
NO MATTER what the western propaganda says, Assad is a super Syrian patriot, with the overwhelming support of the Syrian people...... (and only God knows why), the US, EU, and NATO, and the Sunni Muslim monarchies, decided to arm and train tens of thousands of "foreign" Sunni Muslim fighters in Jordan and Turkey, to wage war on the Shia Muslim led governments of Syria, and Iraq.... not knowing it'd stoke sectarian violence, killings, destruction and war, in most of the Islamic Middle Eastern countries?

The US, EU, and NATO, and the Sunni Muslim monarchies, have stoked these sectarian atrocities and wars in Syria and Iraq, and now spreading to the bordering countries, by arming and training "foreign" Sunni Muslim fighters in Jordan and Turkey, (not to bring freedom or democracy to the people of Syria or Iraq), but just to wage war, and kill those of different religions, in Syria and Iraq. why they did it?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Weeki
X
August 29, 2014 2:18 AM
The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid