Syria's Assad Says Losing Battles Doesn't Mean War is Lost

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Syrian President Bashar Assad said Wednesday that setbacks are a normal part of war and do not mean the conflict is lost, in his first comments after several regime defeats.

"Today we are fighting a war, not a battle. War is not one battle, but a series of many battles," he said at a rare public appearance on Syria's Martyrs Day.

"We are not talking about tens or hundreds but thousands of battles and... it is the nature of battles for there to be advances and retreats, victories and losses, ups and downs."

Assad's remarks at an appearance at a Damascus school were his first since a string of regime losses, particularly in northwestern Idlib province.

In the past few weeks, rebel forces including al-Qaida's Syrian affiliate Al-Nusra Front have seized Idlib's provincial capital, the strategic town of Jisr al-Shughur, and a military base in the region.

The losses in the province, along with rebel advances in the south, have worried some in government-held areas and prompted speculation about the strength of the regime's forces.

But Assad urged his supporters to remain confident in the face of setbacks.

He warned against "the spread of a spirit of frustration or despair at a loss here or there".

"In battles... anything can change except for faith in the fighter and the fighter's faith in victory," he said.

"So when there are setbacks, we must do our duty as a society and give the army morale and not wait for it to give us morale."

While Assad did not explicitly acknowledge his army's losses in Idlib, he paid tribute to regime forces that remain holed up in a hospital building in the now-rebel-held town of Jisr al-Shughur.

"The army will arrive soon to these heroes trapped in the Jisr al-Shughur hospital," he pledged.

He also had harsh words for Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, calling him a "butcher" and comparing him to the Ottoman ruler who ordered the 1916 executions that Martyrs Day commemorates.

Syria's government has regularly criticised Turkey and other opposition supporters, accusing them of backing "terrorism".

More than 220,000 people have been killed in Syria since March 2011, when the conflict began with anti-government demonstrations that were met with a regime crackdown.

Comments 21
Thumb Shark 06 May 2015, 14:44

Assassin. STFU.

Thumb canadianpaul 06 May 2015, 15:00

He's trying to stir passion in a lost cause. If not for Hizbullah and the Pasdaran, he'd be hung by his balls by now. But, his end is coming slowly but surely.

Missing helicopter 06 May 2015, 17:08

The good news is that the regime is losing.
The bad news is that Qaeda/Nusra/ISIS are winning (terrible news).
Lebanon can not afford either of these sides to win...... Lebanon's stability requires that these two sides eliminate each other.

Thumb Mystic 06 May 2015, 20:53

Actually the Syrian army has become more powerful, since this conflict begun. Now look at Assad, he sit comfortable on that chair, like nothing is happening. That is why so many Syrians supports him, he didn't flee as Hadi of Yemen did, he stayed with his people when his country was burning.

God bless Assad.

Thumb Mystic 06 May 2015, 20:55

That is why nobody supports the former President Hadi of Yemen, he is not a strong President as Assad.

Thumb Mystic 06 May 2015, 21:14

Had it not been for Assad and the good Syrian people backing him, then all of Syria would've been part of Abu Baghdadis "caliphate" by now. Ofcourse that is what you Americans & CIA wanted all along, guess what.

Mission failed, Assad still stands after 4 years. That alone is a victory for them, since you people thought he would be gone within a month. You think because Idlib has fallen, they can take the rest of Syria, dream again texas.

Missing peace 06 May 2015, 15:15

yeah, and he also said that everything was under control...
good boy bashar

Missing mohammad_ca 06 May 2015, 15:22

What happened to the revolution is over and the regime is in control etc. Etc.

Thumb ex-fpm 06 May 2015, 15:53

I encourage you to read this report in the British daily mail:
'I saw children without heads': Syrian factory worker describes 'hell' of Aleppo barrel bomb attack in shocking new report.

Thumb ex-fpm 06 May 2015, 15:55

and in Yemen:

مقتل 45 مدنيا بحي التواهي في عدن بقصف للحوثيينمقتل-45-مدنيا-بحي-التواهي-في-عدن-بقصف-للحوثيين.html

Thumb ex-fpm 06 May 2015, 16:26

I think you need a bigger sample to get a more representative test result. How about him and his family and any loved ones?

Missing peace 06 May 2015, 17:45

still hysteric FT? seems you did not take your pills.

even if one does not insult you, you will always insult him if he dare attack the stupid M8ers...your posts are here for everyone to see! it is in your M8 genes as a result of a lack of any intelligent arguments...

being hysteric about the consequence of a bomb only shows how crazy you are: all that for the sake of winning your stupid match... but the results are the same: death...
no, you're here to defend your pimp that's all. he never harmed any syrian if one listens to your rants...

sick mind you are definetely and the laugh stock of this site giving the real image of M8: insults, madness, stupidity raised to the level of art...

Thumb sophia_angle 06 May 2015, 16:20

well i think today Barca 3-1 Bayern

Thumb -phoenix1 06 May 2015, 16:33

Dear dear Sophia, for lack of argument.

Thumb ex-fpm 06 May 2015, 16:43


Thumb beiruti 06 May 2015, 16:32

The Battle of Qalamoun is about cutting the Strategic Highway M5 that connects Damascus to Homs and then to the sea. When that is cut, the only access that Damascus will have to the sea is the Beirut Damascus Highway that passes right by Majdal Anjar. There is a cell of approximately 1500 Daeg in Majdal Anjar that is ready to cut that road as well and when that happens, Damascus will not be able to stand. Assad will flee to Latakia and the Syria War will take on a whole new dimension, for better or for worse.

Missing peace 06 May 2015, 17:59

he is saying that his losses are under control...LOL

Missing Je_suis@libonase 06 May 2015, 18:41

Isis, nusra , daesh or whatever they call themselves are all creations of Mr Assad and his regime , also he has the audacity to call the Turkish president a butcher when he Assad and his regime drop barrel bombs indiscriminately on the civilians his shabiha murder civilians indiscriminately . Assad ordered the murder of any Lebanese politian who would not bow to him . all that follow this vile devil and his regime belong with him in the bottom of hell any Lebanese who aid or follow them are traitors to Lebanon and should be kicked out of Lebanon or jailed .

Missing Je_suis@libonase 06 May 2015, 18:46

Evil reigns when good men do nothing we allowed this devil and his father to terrorise our nation because we kept quiet about their atrocities and we continue to , it's time for this nation to determine its own fate and say no to dictators and oppressive regimes we are a free people born of free people we are created free by God we cannot allow a creation of God to enslave that which is born free

Missing Je_suis@libonase 06 May 2015, 18:59

Anyone who comes to the defence of this butcher should seek help what kind of a twisted evil person could defend the indefensible this war began in deraa for those who have short memories the this butcher and his regime started murdering the innocent protesters now he justifies his butchery under the pretence that he is fighting terrorists he is calling everybody who rejects him and his regime terrorist.

Thumb wassupmanigga 06 May 2015, 21:51

The guy is a genius. He should teach at university. You guys should learn from what he said: a war is composed of many battles, that´s his explanation. How this guy is not king of the world is beyond me.