In an interview with Russian television Russia Today (RT), aired on Friday, President Assad said that whether the president can “stay or leave” is a “popular issue” and “the only way (it) can be done (is) through the ballot boxes”.
“It is not about what we hear. It is about what we can get through that box and that box will tell any president to stay or leave very simply,” said the president, speaking in English.
UNPRECENTED SUPPORT FOR MILITANTS
Assad described as “unprecedented” the support which he said the rebels were receiving from abroad in terms of arms, money and political backing.
“So, you have to expect that it is going to be a tough war and a difficult war. You do not expect a small country like Syria to defeat all those countries that have been fighting us through proxies just in days or weeks.”
If the support for militants from abroad stopped, he said, “I can tell that in weeks we can finish everything.”
“But as long as you have a continuous supply in terrorists, armaments, logistics and everything else, it is going to be a long-term war.”
But Assad denied that the country was in civil war as such conflicts should be “based on ethnic problems or sectarian problems”.
“You have divisions, but division does not mean civil war,” he added.
SYRIA NOT IN CIVIL WAR
On the other hand, President Assad denied Syria was in a state of “civil war”, assuring that problem was not between the regime and the Syrian people.
“The problem is not between me and the people; 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, are against me.
“If the Syrian people are against me, how can I be here?!” Assad said in the interview.
He denied he had lost support of the Syrian people: “If the whole world, or let us say a big part of the world, including your people, are against you, are you a superman?! You are just a human being. So, this is not logical. It is not about reconciling with the people and it is not about reconciliation between the Syrians and the Syrians; we do not have a civil war.
“It is about terrorism and the support coming from abroad to terrorists to destabilize Syria. This is our war,” Assad said.
He also denied allegations that the Syrian government forces had committed any war crimes against civilians and said that the Syrian army has not been killing Syrian people.
“If you have an army that committed a crime against its own people, this is devoid of logic because the Syrian Army is made up of Syrian people.”
“If you want to commit a crime against your people, then the army will divide, will disintegrate. So, you cannot have a strong army while you are killing your people. Third, the army cannot withstand for twenty months in these difficult circumstances without having the embrace of the public in Syria.”
“So, how could you have this embracement while you are killing your people?! This is a contradiction. So, this is the answer,” Assad said.
“ERDOGAN THINKS HE IS CALIPH”
Talking about the relation with turkey, Assad said: “The Turkish people need good relations with the Syrian people.”
“Erdogan thinks that if Muslim Brotherhood takes over in the region and especially in Syria, he can guarantee his political future, this is one reason. The other reason, he personally thinks that he is the new sultan of the Ottoman and he can control the region as it was during the Ottoman Empire under a new umbrella.
“In his heart he thinks he is a caliph. These are the main two reasons for him to shift his policy from zero problems to zero friends.”