Assad's bubble has not burst: Arab Spring is "soap suds", Syria is fighting "terrorists"
President Bashar al-Assad on Syrian state TV.
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President Assad gave his first public address on Sunday since June 2012. In the speech, broadcast on the Syrian state television network, the president called the revolution in Syria fake and illegitimate.
“Syria is fighting the enemies of God”, he said, adding, “they [the rebels] speak no language but the language of slaughter and murder.”
He condemned the Arab uprisings in the region as temporary and meaningless, saying:
“The Arab Spring is nothing but soap bubbles that will disappear in the near future.”
Despite international condemnation, the Syrian regime has maintained support from some areas of the world. Assad took the time to thank Russia, China and Iran for “standing with Syria”.
The last time the Syrian president spoke publicly was to address his newly formed cabinet in June 2012, when he told ministers to work at dealing with citizens with ‘transparency’ and to help with reconstructing parts of the country destroyed by ‘terrorists’.
Activists reported that phone and internet networks were down following the beginning of his address, which began at 10am GMT.
During his speech, the Syrian president spoke about the rebels in stronger language that ever before.
He referred to international terrorist network, al-Qaeda, saying that the group was funded by the Gulf and had moved in on Syria, following their involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Syrian president also claimed that al-Qaeda was “directed” by the West.
Assad called for foreign countries to stop funding “terrorist groups” in Syria and announced that as part of his solution for the war-ridden country, he would be sealing off “porous” borders to stop “terrorists” from entering the country.
However, he added that the “anti-terrorist” operations by the regime would continue. The UN recently estimated that 60,000 Syrians had now died during the 22-month conflict.
Activists have blamed the vast majority of deaths on the Syrian regime and numerous civilians are included in the death toll.
Both the U.S. and the European Union have now formally recognized the Syrian Opposition coalition as the legitimate representatives of the Syrian people. President Assad told the nation that the rebels were seeking to divide, rather than unite, saying:
“Syria will not exit this crisis without full national mobilization.”
However, he also spoke of a general pardon for those who had “committed crimes” and reiterated calls for a political solution. As part of the president’s 3-step-plan for Syria, he claimed he would start up a national dialogue to put together a constitution, with “public referendums” ever step of the way.