Bashar al-Assad: quotes on the Syrian conflict

A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on June 17, 2013, shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad speaking during an interview (File photo: Reuters)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in a rare speech on Sunday that the crisis in Syria could only be solved by stamping out terror “with an iron fist”. He also dismissed the political opposition as a “failure” and said they had no role to play in resolving the conflict.

Below are some of Assad's main comments on the Syrian conflict:


--2011--

- March 30: Assad, in a rare address to parliament, blames “enemies” and conspirators for the deadly unrest rocking Syria.

- June 20: He says talks could lead to a new constitution and even end the Baath party's monopoly on power, but refuses to reform Syria in an atmosphere of “chaos”.

- October 30: He warns that Western intervention in Syria would cause an “earthquake” across the Middle East and tells Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper: Syria “is the fault line, and if you play with the ground you will cause an earthquake -- do you want to see another Afghanistan, or dozens of Afghanistans?”

- December 7: “We don't kill our people,” Assad says during an interview with the US television network ABC. “No government in the world kills its people, unless it's led by a crazy person.”



--2012--

- January 10: In a televised speech lasting two hours, Assad pledges to tackle terrorism with “an iron fist.”

- July 8: He accuses the United States of assisting “gangs” to destabilize his country, in an interview with German television channel ARD.

- August 29: Assad says in an interview with pro-regime Addounia channel that his forces need more time to win the war.

- November 9: “I am Syrian, I was made in Syria, I have to live in Syria and die in Syria”. He also warns in an interview with Russian television that foreign intervention in his country would have global consequences.



--2013--

- April 6: He warns in interviews with two Turkish media outlets that the fall of his regime would produce a “domino effect” that would destabilize the region “for many years.”

- April 17: He tells state television Al-Ikhbariya the West is playing with fire for its alleged support of Al-Qaeda in Syria. “Everyone knows that Jordan is as exposed as Syria,” he says.

- May 18: He tells Argentine newspaper, the Clarin, “To resign would be to flee” and whether he stays “will be determined by the Syrian people in the 2014 presidential elections”.

- May 30: In an interview broadcast on Al-Manar, the channel of Lebanon's Hezbollah, he appears to imply Russia has sent Syria promised advanced air defence missiles, and says there is “popular pressure” to open a military front against Israel on the Golan, which the Jewish state has occupied since 1967.

- June 17: He warns that European powers will “pay the price” if they send weapons to rebel forces.

- July 4: He tells Ath-Thawra daily that the West is sending “takfiri (extremist) terrorist groups” to Syria.

- August 1: Assad says he is “sure of victory” in an Army Day message carried by state media. “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,” he says.

- August 4: In a rare televised address, Assad says: “No solution can be reached with terror except by striking it with an iron fist.” He also dismisses the political opposition to his regime as a “failure” that could play no role in solving the country's brutal war.
 

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