• 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
Recipe: How to make Spain's summer classic gazpacho
Gazpacho is the perfect lunchtime refresher in the summer heat. Photo: Harlan Harris / Flickr

Chilled, refreshing, and delicious, a bowl of gazpacho is a must during Spain's sizzling summer months.

Model found guilty of murder of Brit millionaire ex-boyfriend
Mayka Kukucova with British businessman Andrew Bush. Photo: Facebook

A Slovakian swimwear model has been found guilty for murdering her British millionaire ex-boyfriend at a court in Malaga.

Spanish bishop demands staff get 'anti-paedo certificate'
Stock photo of priests: AFP

The Bishop of Lleida has requested all staff, including priests and monks, prove they are not paedophiles.

Beach hogger fined in Spain for saving spot with umbrella
Tourists at a Spanish beach. Photo: Jaime Reina/AFP.

Attempting to 'reserve' a spot on the beach of one Costa Blanca resort is being treated very harshly indeed.

Superfast undersea mega-cable to link US and Spain
It will be 16 million times faster than a domestic broadband connection. Photo: Oleg Zaytsev / Flickr

Your internet access is about to get a whole lot faster.

Travel chaos looms as Easyjet workers call strike in Malaga
Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP

Thousands of holidaymakers could be affected by the strike...

Spanish capital gripped by Champions League fever
Real Madrid fans. Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP

Madrid's two biggest teams will face off against each other in Saturday's Champions League final.

Colombia blames guerrillas for missing journalists
Demonstrators called for the release of Spanish journalist Salud Hernandez Mora in Bogota this week. Photo: Guillermo Legaria/AFP

The Red Cross has joined the search for three journalists missing in Colombia whose disappearance the government blamed on a leftist rebel group.

'Magical mystery tours' among top Spanish startups to watch
Rome is one of the possible secret destinations. Photo: Moyan Brenn/Flickr

A company that organizes surprise trips for people who don’t find out where they are going until 48 hours before departure could be one of Spain’s most interesting new startups.

Franco finally stripped of mayor title by Catalan town
Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. Photo: AFP

Better late than never...

National
Stunning cave paintings found 300 metres below Spain
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Travel
Five good reasons why Extremadura should be on your bucket list
Lifestyle
Top Ten: Barcelona's coolest rooftop bars
National
Plane forced to dodge THREE drones to land in Bilbao
National
Spain launches campaign to stop English 'invasion'
Culture
Ten unique Basque words you need to learn right now
National
'It’s time to dig up Franco' say victims of Spain's dictatorship
Lifestyle
'Severe jellyfish stings' end Brit's Spanish swim feat
Sport
5 reasons why Spanish clubs dominate European football
International
Tesco to bring British tea and biscuits to Spanish stores
Culture
Bucket list: 16 brilliant things to do once in your life in Spain
National
Spain's Civil War victims to be exhumed from Franco's tomb
National
Two mums face jail for leaving kids in car to go out drinking
Education
Students at Spanish college forced to take exorcism class
National
Ten superb reasons why you need to visit San Sebastián
Society
Abused wife saved by hiding SOS note in son's homework
National
Look up! Rare meteor shower set to dazzle skies over Spain
Politics
Why Spain is heading for a Groundhog day election
Travel
Ibiza bans drinking in street… and that includes water
National
Expats didn't 'abandon' UK so ALL Brits should get EU vote
Features
What's on in Spain: May 2016
Travel
Discover Spain's breathtaking national parks
National
Couple caught on camera having sex on metro platform
3,387
jobs available