Syrian minister says Assad is ‘staying put’

Syrians wave a flag with an image of President Bashar al-Assad during a rally in his support in Damascus. (File photo: AFP)

In the latest defiant remarks from the Syrian regime, Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi said Tuesday that President Bashar al-Assad will remain in office, and has the right to decide to run for reelection next year.

“Syria is staying put: the state, the nation, the people and the president. This is the Syrians’ choice,” Zohbi told journalists, according to Agence France-Presse.

“All the people call for President Bashar al-Assad to be president of this state, whatever the opposition, the Americans and the traitors say,” he added.

In an attack on the opposition, Zohbi said the main oppositional bloc “does not have the courage to go to the polls,” and that “had it had the courage, we would not have reached this point.”

Zohbi said it is “the president’s right to take a decision” on whether he will run for a new term in mid-2014, when his mandate is set to expire.

The remarks follow Assad’s interview with China’s state CCTV, in which he said it was up to the Syrian people to choose whether he would run for election.

The regime has consistently blamed a foreign-backed “terrorist” plot for the violence that has wracked the country ever since.

More than 110,000 people have been killed in Syria’s war, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and millions more have been forced to flee their homes.

(With AFP)

 

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Last Update: 11:57 KSA 14:57 - GMT 11:57
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