Strike terror with 'iron fist' says Assad

2013-08-05 08:11
President Bashar Assad giving a speech at an "iftar" meal on the last week of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan with political and religious figures in Damascus. (File, AFP)

President Bashar Assad giving a speech at an "iftar" meal on the last week of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan with political and religious figures in Damascus. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Damascus - Syria's crisis will only be solved by stamping out "terror", President Bashar Assad said on Sunday, in reference to rebels fighting his regime.

In a rare speech on Syrian state television, Assad also dismissed the political opposition to his regime as a "failure" that could play no role in solving the country's brutal war.

"No solution can be reached with terror except by striking it with an iron fist," said Assad.

"I don't think that any sane human being would think that terrorism can be dealt with via politics," he added.

"There may be a role for politics in dealing with terrorism pre-emptively," said Assad, adding that as soon as "terrorism" has arisen, it can only be struck out.

In March 2011, a widespread protest movement calling for political change in Syria broke out.

In response, the regime unleashed a brutal crackdown against dissent, while systematically labelling dissidents and rebels as "terrorists" and refusing to recognise the existence of a popular revolt.

Achieved the impossible’

The movement later morphed into an increasingly radical insurgency and more than 100 000 people have since been killed, the UN says.

The war has also forced millions to flee their homes, while plunging Syria into an unprecedented economic crisis.

In his latest speech, Assad also said Syria's economic woes "are linked to the security situation, and they can only be solved by striking terror".

Assad's speech comes a week after the army, backed by pro-regime paramilitary troops and Lebanon's Shi’ite Hezbollah movement, reclaimed a strategic district of the central city of Homs, after a suffocating siege on rebels that lasted more than a year.

"In this kind of fight, we as Syrians either win together or lose together," he said.

Assad also said that the army, untrained for guerrilla warfare, "has achieved the impossible".

"There is only one kind of war that is bigger than guerrilla warfare, and that is a people's war, one that is fought by the army alongside the citizens," he said, adding that "the hand of God is with those who stand together".

Military operations

He meanwhile stressed the need to fight on against the rebellion.

"It is true that there is a battle being fought in the media and on [the Internet], but the crisis will only be solved on the battlefield," said Assad in his 45min address.

He also said that any efforts towards a political solution should be combined with continued military operations.

"There cannot be any political efforts or political progress if terror is striking everywhere. Therefore terror must be struck in order to get the political process moving on the right track," Assad said.

"That does not mean that there cannot be parallel tracks. There is no reason why we shouldn't strike terror while at the same time working politically," he added.

‘Sure of victory’

Assad's comments come amid faltering efforts to push forward a US-Russian proposal for peace talks dubbed Geneva 2, which would see regime representatives and the opposition gathering for negotiations.

In his speech, Assad lashed out against the main opposition National Coalition, describing it as a "failure".

"This opposition is not reliable ... and it has no role in solving the crisis," Assad said.

He accused the Coalition of "being on the payroll of more than one Gulf country", and of "blaming the [Syrian] state for terrorism rather than blaming the armed men", or rebels.

In an Army Day message carried by state media on 1 August, Assad said he was "sure of victory" in the bloody conflict.

"If we in Syria were not sure of victory, we would not have had the will to resist nor been able to persevere in the face of more than two years of aggression," Assad said at the time.

Read more on:    hezbollah  |  bashar assad  |  syria  |  syria conflict

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.