Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that only "the polls" could determine his future, and warned against a "long term" conflict with the rebels, in an interview with the Russian RT TV channel, whose transcript was released Friday.
The departure or not of the President "can be decided only through the ballot box," said Assad, noting that it was a "popular theme."
"It is not matter what is being said, but what we can do through the ballot box, and the boxes can easily say that a president should stay or leave," added Mr. Assad, speaking in English.
In this interview which was held in Damascus, Assad said Syria was not facing a "civil war" but a conflict with rebels that could be "long term" if they continue to receive support from abroad.
"It is not a civil war. This is terrorism and support provided to foreign terrorists to destabilize Syria. This is our war," he said.
"We must therefore expect a difficult war. You can not expect a small country like Syria can win in the space of a few days or weeks against all these countries who are fighting against us by proxy, "said Assad, citing in this regard the United States, the West and the Arab countries.
If the support for the rebels from abroad ceased, "I can say that we could end (it) in a few weeks," he further said.
"But as long as there is an uninterrupted supply of weapons, logistics and everything else to terrorists, it will be a long-term war," he added.
Syrian insurgents are supported by the secret services of regional states, operating under the control of Western countries, said al-Assad. "We know that Western special services provide support to armed combatants via Turkey mainly, and sometimes through Lebanon. And the secret services of countries in the region, although they are much more active than Westerners are still controlled by them ", said the Syrian president.
Assad also called on all parties involved in the conflict to engage in peace talks. The President has declared his readiness to negotiate "with those who want to help Syria," while refusing to "waste time on those who seek to profit from the crisis."