Assad: Rebels will not win

2012-09-21 13:01

Cairo - President Bashar Assad said Syrian rebels would not be victorious in their fight against his government although the "door to dialogue remains open".

In comments to the Egyptian weekly magazine Al-Ahram Al-Araby, to be published on Friday, Assad said "the armed groups exercise terrorism against the state. They are not popular within society ... they will not be victorious in the end".

At least 54 people were killed when an air strike hit a fuel station in Syria's northern province of al-Raqqa on Thursday. Activists say more than 27 000 people have been killed in the 18-month-old conflict.

Speaking from his office in the heart of Damascus, Assad said "change cannot be achieved through foreign intervention".

"Both sides of the equation are equal and political dialogue is the only solution. Violence, however, is not allowed ... and the state will not stand with its hands tied in the face of those who bear arms against it," Assad was quoted as saying.

International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi met Assad on Saturday in his first visit to Damascus as peace envoy. Brahimi said his visit confirmed that the situation was "extremely dangerous and escalating".

Dialogue 'welcome'

Assad said he was neither optimistic nor pessimistic about Brahimi's mission.

"I welcome dialogue with the national opposition but those who choose arms have put themselves in confrontation with the Syrian Arab army," said Assad, who admitted there was corruption and mistakes had been made.

Assad's rule structure draws mainly on his Alawite minority sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam, while the opposition is largely from the Sunni Muslim majority, enjoying the support of Sunni leaders who rule nearly all Arab states.

That has raised fears that the 18-month-old conflict could spread across the wider Middle East, where a sectarian divide between Sunnis and Shi'ites has been at the root of violence in Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain and elsewhere.

Criticising Qatar and Saudi Arabia for siding against him, Assad accused the Gulf states of trying to create a regional role for themselves by fuelling chaos in Syria and other Arab countries.

"Those have suddenly become wealthy after very long period of poverty," Assad said of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. "They imagine they can use their wealth to buy the geography, history and a regional role.

Assad hits out at Turkey

"Bringing down the governments of the Arab world has not worked in the interest of freedom, democracy or ending social injustice as much as it helped create chaos."

Assad also criticised Turkey, regarded as a key player in supporting Syria's opposition, for calling for the demise of Assad's government. Egypt and Saudi Arabia have also demanded that Assad step down.

Russia and China, staunch supporters of Assad, have vetoed proposed UN Security Council resolutions meant to put pressure on the Syrian leader and China has repeatedly said it opposes forceful foreign intervention.

Iran has also backed Assad, providing his forces with weapons.

  • littlegiantn - 2012-09-21 13:59

    Greed will in the end lose just as all evil will....

  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-21 14:04

    The "society" with whom "the terrorists" are not popular is Assad's Aluwite sect ... for now.

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-21 14:40

    assad is irrelevant in Syria's future !!!!

  • albert.m.burger - 2012-09-21 17:47

    This guy look like the love child of mr bean and adolf hitler

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-09-21 17:52

    They've known that from the beginning, but instability and chaos suits the string pullers just as fine.

      keith.f.murphy - 2012-09-21 19:26

      Fidel follow the Mathaba news and you will get to the truth how these rebels are shot down like flies.just go to

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-21 20:05

      . Maybe, sometimes it is better; 'just shut the up' and listen to what some have to say: ""My staff and other United Nations colleagues have documented government attacks on schools, children denied access to hospitals, girls and boys suffering and dying in bombardments of their neighbourhoods, and also being subject to torture, including sexual violence, sometimes for weeks." Leile Zerrougi UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's special reprersentative for children and armed conflict .

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-22 00:14

      Patrick, ""Assad is right despite what some may ,say,of him."" One must have a pretty disturbed mind, to say ----------------------------ANYTHING---------------------- good about a leader of a TERRORIST organisation. Only the ones bloated full of HATRED could support this MONSTER . YOU MAKE ONE PUKE !!!!!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-22 03:29

      In Fidel's world, the string-pullers are pulling Nelson Mandela's strings too. Everyone is at the end of the evil West's strings, except the neo-Communist Russian and Chinese regimes which are going to bring democracy to the Middle East, democracy they themselves don't have or understand.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-22 03:30

      Keith is a genocidal racist. He has called for the extermination of all Jewish people. Keith, do you agree with Fidel that Nelson Mandela is a phony, a lackey of the West, a modern-day Uncle Tom?

  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-22 03:32

    This is a trustworthy source of information. It is the independent public broadcasting entity in the US. The video was released this week. Lots of good information.

  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-22 08:56

    And a stark insert on last night's Newshour programme:

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