Assad: My opponents failed to oust me

Syrian president says the opposition has used all tools to overthrow his regime but failed.

    Assad shrugged off calls to step down, saying he will serve the rest of his term.
    Assad shrugged off calls to step down, saying he will serve the rest of his term.

    Syria's President Bashar Assad has claimed that his opponents have "used up all their tools" and failed to overthrow his regime.

    In an interview with the state-run Al-Thawra newspaper published on Thursday, Assad rejected to call what has been happening in Syria a revolution.

    Instead, he insisted it is a conspiracy by Western and some Arab states to destabilise his country.

    "The countries that conspire against Syria have used up all their tools and they have nothing left except direct [military] intervention," Assad said in the interview, adding that such an intervention would not happen.

    Assad also praised this week's massive anti-government protests in Egypt, saying the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi meant the end of "political Islam".

    He said that his opponents failed because they tried to bring religion onto the battlefield.

    "Whoever brings religion to use for political or factional interests will fall anywhere in the world," Assad said in the interview, again citing Morsi's overthrow by the military in Egypt.

    He has also shrugged off calls to step down, saying he will serve the rest of his term and could consider running for another one in next year's presidential elections.

    Opposition meeting

    The remarks came as Western-backed Syrian National Coalition (SNC) met in Istanbul to discuss the election of a new president for the bloc and the selection of an interim government cabinet. 

    Sarah Karkour, a spokeswoman for the SNC, said that acting leader George Sabra and senior opposition figures Louay Safi and Mustafa Sabbagh are topping the list of candidates for the new leadership.

    In late May, the opposition leaders met for more than a week in Istanbul, but failed to elected new leaders or devise a strategy for possible peace talks that the US and Russia have been trying to convene in Geneva.

    In Syria, more than 93,000 people have been killed since the crisis erupted in March 2011. The conflict began as peaceful protests against Assad's rule, then turned into civil war after some opposition supporters took up arms to fight a brutal government crackdown on dissent. Millions of Syrians have been forced to flee their homes.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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