Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Wednesday that the fight between the Syrian army and the rebels was decisive for the future of Syria and praised the military for its fight against what he called "criminal terrorist gangs". "The fate of past, present and future of our people and our nation depends on this battle," he said in a statement to mark the Army Day. These were his first public comments since the assassination of four senior security officials in an attack two weeks ago.
According to him, "the enemies wanted to prevent our people from their national decision but they were surprised by the Syrian people who stood as one man against their schemes and defeated them, leading them to look for a way out of their defeats, plot more schemes and assign the task of carrying out such schemes to local agents."
Al-Assad told the troops: "You are the representatives of the people's values." And he added: "My confidence in you is great and the confidence of our people that you are the defender of their just causes."
Al-Assad added "You represent the aspiration of our people in defending their dignity and honor and restoring stability and security of the homeland due to your determination to implement your sacred duty towards the homeland," asserting that each citizen derives his strength from "our soldiers as they are the men who devoted themselves to defend the country by land, sea and air."
"The enemy exploited internal agents as a bridge to destabilize the homeland, undermine the citizens' safety and drain our economic and scientific capabilities with the aim of weakening us and preventing us from drawing up our future and improving our society to the level of the developed countries," added the embattled leader.