• Spain's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Assad wants to be known as the 'man who saved Syria'
President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Photo: AFP

Assad wants to be known as the 'man who saved Syria'

AFP · 22 Feb 2016, 09:04

Published: 22 Feb 2016 09:04 GMT+01:00

Assad, whose fate has been a key sticking point in efforts to end Syria's bloody civil war as it enters its sixth year, left open the question of whether he would still be president by then.

And he said he was ready to implement a long-sought ceasefire, but only if the rebels and their international backers such as Turkey did not use it as a chance to gain ground.

"In 10 years, if I can save Syria as president - but that doesn't mean I'm still going to be president in 10 years, I'm just talking about my vision of the 10 years," he said in an interview published on the newspaper's website.   

"If Syria is safe and sound, and I'm the one who saved his country - that's my job now, that's my duty.

"If the Syrian people want me to be in power, I will be. If they don't want me, I can do nothing, I mean, I cannot help my country, so I have to leave right away."

World powers have been pushing for a so-called cessation of hostilities in Syria to pave the way for renewed peace negotiations, but the truce has faltered as fighting on the ground has intensified.

In an interview with AFP on February 12th, before the deal was announced, Assad defiantly pledged to retake the whole of the country.    

Speaking to El Pais, he said he was "ready" for a ceasefire, but warned that it should not be exploited by "the terrorists" to improve their positions, using the regime's term for all rebel groups.

"It's about preventing other countries, especially Turkey, from sending more recruits, more terrorists, more armaments, or any kind of logistical support to those terrorists."

Syria's regime has been pressing an offensive in the northern Aleppo region backed by Russian air strikes and troops from Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah, which has forced tens of thousands to flee.

Story continues below…

Assad said the support of his Russian and Iranian allies had been "essential" in the recent major advances made by regime forces.  

"We definitely need that help for a simple reason: because more than 80 countries supported those terrorists in different ways," he told El Pais.    

Some backers helped "directly with money, with logistical support, with armaments, with recruitments. Some other countries supported them politically, in different international forums," he told the daily.

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Brexit
Seven burning questions for British expats about Brexit
Photo: AFP

Uncertainty has kicked in over Brexit and what it may mean for British expats living in Spain.

Google's Madrid offices raided in tax probe
Photo: AFP

Google's offices in Madrid were being searched in a tax probe Thursday, just over a month after police raided the Internet giant in Paris in a similar investigation.

Splash! Spanish waterpark crowned best in the world
Photo: YouTube

Siam Park in Tenerife has topped TripAdvisor's Traveller's Choice Awards.

Two workers in Spain fired for skipping work... for 15 years
Archive photo of man having a siesta. Photo: Jessica Jones

The men were municipal employees in the town of Jerez de la Frontera, southern Spain. And they hadn't done a day's work in 15 years.

Investigation into 'terrorism-praising' puppet show shelved
A file photo of puppets. Photo: Leon Neal/AFP

Two puppeteers accused of 'glorifying terrorism' in a show for children have been cleared.

Michelle Obama and daughters arrive in Spain
Michelle Obama leaving Morocco to travel to Spain. Photo: AFP

The First Lady of the United States is visiting Madrid with her mother and two daughters.

Six free apps to simplify your summer in Spain
Photo: CAFNR/Flickr

From booking sunbeds to checking the jellyfish warnings, these apps will make your summer go a lot more smoothly.

Pamplona fights fiesta urine with walls that 'pee back'
Men queue up for a portable urinal. But not all bother to wait in line. Photo: Fiona Govan

It's 'pee-back' time in Pamplona as authorities get tough over public urination.

Brexit
Spanish PM opposes EU talks with Scotland after Brexit
Sturgeon met Junker in Brussels on Wednesday. Photo: AFP

Mariano Rajoy said that Madrid would oppose Scotland having any role in talks between Britain and the European Union after the Brexit vote.

Brexit
Gibraltar 'in talks' with Scotland to remain in the EU
Gibraltar remains defiant in face of Spanish claims. Photo: AFP

Could Gibraltar team up with Scotland to remain in the EU after Brexit?

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Politics
Rajoy claims right to form government after poll win
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
International
Brexit limbo: What happens next for expat Brits in Spain?
Politics
Spanish elections: What are the possible outcomes?
International
Worried after Brexit? Here’s how to become Spanish
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Politics
Why Spain is heading for a Groundhog day election
International
Brit expats in Spain stunned and fearful after Brexit win
Travel
The intern's guide to surviving a summer in Spain
National
The weird and wonderful ways Spain celebrates midsummer
National
Get your kit off! Spain's ten best nudist beaches
International
Spain REALLY wants Britain to stay in EU and here's why
National
Don't jump! Officials in Spain warn against 'balconing' craze
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Girl's best friend: Four-year-old finds comfort with a bull
Politics
Hilarious video pokes fun at expats in Spain over Brexit
National
Top ten tricks to survive the Spanish summer
National
Spain knocked off top spot for world's best restaurant
International
Meet the Spaniard working as North Korea's secret weapon
National
Sheep invade Spanish city after shepherd takes a snooze
Features
Five brilliant ways to beat the crowds in Barcelona
National
Experts warn of jellyfish boom across Spain's beaches
Politics
Are these the weirdest political campaign ads ever?
National
Giant inflatable poo goes walkies from town square
Lifestyle
Spanish study proves fat really ISN'T bad for you
3,385
jobs available