Assad: ‘We have terrorism not civil war in Syria’

Syrian President Bashar Assad denied his country is in the midst of a civil war and accused Western nations of demonizing him in an interview with RT, a Russian satellite and cable channel.

“We do not have a civil war. It is about terrorism and the support coming from abroad to terrorists to destabilize Syria,” the Syrian president told the Russian station, reprising his oft-repeated charge. “You have divisions, but division does not mean civil war. It is completely different. … The problem is not between me and my people.”

The Syrian opposition also does not label the conflict a civil war, calling it instead a grass-roots uprising aimed at ousting a murderous dictator.

In the 25-minute interview, which aired Friday and was conducted in the renovated Presidential Palace in Damascus, Assad said forces in the West had worked to turn him into an international villain like former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

“The West creates enemies; in the past it was the communism, then it became Islam, and then it became Saddam Hussein,” Assad said. “Now, they want to create a new enemy represented by Bashar.”

Assad also accused Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of acting like a “caliph” and described him as “the new sultan of the Ottoman,” working in concert with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group.

Turkey has been a major supporter of rebels fighting to oust Assad, whose family has ruled Syria for more than 40 years. The Muslim Brotherhood has also helped bankroll the rebel cause.

Syria’s battered army, which has suffered thousands of casualties and large-scale defections, must get used to fighting a different kind of enemy, Assad said.

“It is a new kind of war; terrorism through proxies, either Syrians living in Syria or foreign fighters coming from abroad,” Assad said. “You have to adapt to this style and it takes time, it is not easy.”

Asked about his biggest mistake, Assad responded: “I do not remember now to be frank. … Sometimes, especially during a crisis, you don’t see what’s right or wrong until you overcome the situation you are in. “

The Syrian president vowed he would never leave Syria, declaring: “I have to live in Syria and die in Syria.”

In the northern city of Aleppo, where rebels and government forces have been fighting for more than three months, graffiti in a rebel-held part of the Old City also urges him to stay: “Bashar, don’t leave. We are coming after you.”

LA Times

Photo: A banner that reads: “Bashar, don’t leave. We are coming after you.”

  • Patience2

    Liar, liar, pants on fire!

  • Patience2

    Liar, liar, pants on fire!

  • Constantin7

    Fine if “you have to live in Syria and die in Syria”, then you are going to definitely die in Syria, hopefully not the way Gaddafi died in Libya. Yes there is foreign interference now in Syria because of the brutal treatment that the Syrian regime has been inflicting on its own innocent, unarmed population. Bashar’s behavior drew all these extremist foreigners. Hopefully, the “After-Assad” will be tolerant to minorities and the Basahr’s predictions (about massacres against the Alawites and Christians) won’t be realized.

    • Salitizi

      Unfortunately Constantin the demise of the Alawites and Christians is for certain if Assad falls. Which BTW is not going to happen. Theses extremist and the religion they believe in have made it quite clear that Alawites, Christians and others religions are infidels. Their attitude is either you are with us or against us. Kind of sounds like US policies.     

  • Constantin7

    Fine if “you have to live in Syria and die in Syria”, then you are going to definitely die in Syria, hopefully not the way Gaddafi died in Libya. Yes there is foreign interference now in Syria because of the brutal treatment that the Syrian regime has been inflicting on its own innocent, unarmed population. Bashar’s behavior drew all these extremist foreigners. Hopefully, the “After-Assad” will be tolerant to minorities and the Basahr’s predictions (about massacres against the Alawites and Christians) won’t be realized.

    • Salitizi

      Unfortunately Constantin the demise of the Alawites and Christians is for certain if Assad falls. Which BTW is not going to happen. Theses extremist and the religion they believe in have made it quite clear that Alawites, Christians and others religions are infidels. Their attitude is either you are with us or against us. Kind of sounds like US policies.     

  • JS_Bach

    Yeah tell that to your terrors-in-law the Hezzies you Ork.

  • JS_Bach

    Yeah tell that to your terrors-in-law the Hezzies you Ork.

  • nagy_michael2

    Yes Mr. Bashar you’ve Terrorism and you’re the master of it. You and your family have terrorised Lebanon, Palestinien and now the Syrian. Yes you don’t have civil war you created it by scaring the alwaites, Christians that the Sunnis will eat them alive. Who created this division? I am sure they will have you for it because you have submerged the christians and Alwaites in your mudd and they will kill you themselves not the sunnis. You’re a terrorist and you have a brother in Lebanon called Nassrallah and his cronies Aoun, Berri, Suleiman Franjiah and most of all the Haters of lebanon the SSNP party. the party of the devil and Chaos and killings. You don’t have Terrorism just like Mahdi of Iran who said they don’t have homosexuals in Iran. Well maybe he is just a transgender than cause he certainly looks like it. Its too late for you to run anyway so you will die at the hands of your own people. A death you wish you never born in the first place..

  • nagy_michael2

    Yes Mr. Bashar you’ve Terrorism and you’re the master of it. You and your family have terrorised Lebanon, Palestinien and now the Syrian. Yes you don’t have civil war you created it by scaring the alwaites, Christians that the Sunnis will eat them alive. Who created this division? I am sure they will have you for it because you have submerged the christians and Alwaites in your mudd and they will kill you themselves not the sunnis. You’re a terrorist and you have a brother in Lebanon called Nassrallah and his cronies Aoun, Berri, Suleiman Franjiah and most of all the Haters of lebanon the SSNP party. the party of the devil and Chaos and killings. You don’t have Terrorism just like Mahdi of Iran who said they don’t have homosexuals in Iran. Well maybe he is just a transgender than cause he certainly looks like it. Its too late for you to run anyway so you will die at the hands of your own people. A death you wish you never born in the first place..