Assad Stresses He Will Not Step Down, Denies Using Chemical Weapons

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Syrian President Bashar Assad said Saturday he welcomed a U.S.-Russian peace initiative to end Syria's civil war but had no plans to resign, in an interview with an Argentine newspaper.

"To resign would be to flee," he told the Clarin when asked if he would consider stepping aside as called for by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

"I don't know if Kerry or anyone else has received the power of the Syrian people to talk in their name about who should go and who should stay. That will be determined by the Syrian people in the 2014 presidential elections," Assad said.

Assad spoke to Clarin and the Argentine state news agency Telam in a lengthy interview in Damascus in which he also denied that his government has used chemical weapons against the civilian population.

His comments come amid a rare joint push by the United States and Russia to convene a peace conference in Geneva that would bring together members of the regime and the rebels fighting to oust Assad.

"We have received the Russian-U.S. approach well and we hope that there will be an international conference to help Syrians overcome the crisis," Clarin quoted Assad as saying.

He added, however, that "we do not believe that many Western countries really want a solution in Syria. And we don't think that the forces that support the terrorists want a solution to the crisis.

"We must be clear," he said. "There is confusion in the world over a political solution and terrorism. They think that a political conference will stop terrorism on the ground. This is unrealistic."

Pressure for action on Syria has mounted with Western intelligence reports that the regime has used chemical weapons on at least two occasions and a death toll nearing 95,000 after 26 months of war, according to a Syrian observer group.

Telam quoted Assad as denying that his government has used chemical weapons against its civilian population, saying that mass casualties could not be hidden if the regime had.

"The accusations against Syria regarding the use of chemical weapons or my resignation change every day. And it is likely that this is used as a prelude to a war against our country," he said.

"They said we use chemical weapons against residential areas. If they were used in a city or a suburb with only 10 or 20 victims, would that be credible?"

Their use, he said, "would mean the death of thousands or tens of thousands of people in a matter of minutes. Who could hide something like that?"

Assad also questioned the estimates of the number of dead produced by human rights groups, but acknowledged that "thousands of Syrians have died."

"We shouldn't ignore that many of the dead that they talk about are foreigners who have come to kill the Syrian people," he said, blaming "local terrorism and that coming from abroad" for the violence.

Clarin said Assad denied that his government was using "fighters from outside of Syria, of other nationalities, and needs no support from any Arab or foreign state.

"There are Hizbullah people in Iran, in Syria, but they come and go in Syria from long before the crisis," he said.

Comments 15
Thumb benzona 19 May 2013, 00:14

The giraff will leave, but the rebels are looking for a coffin long enough to accommodate his uncommon proportions. Asma should join him as well as she's too busy shopping for prada shoes and bags online. In the mean time, people are dying by the hundred every day.

Missing formerlebaniz 19 May 2013, 00:48

The history will record this madman as the Hitler of the 21st century and Obama as the weak president that started the demise of the US global influence.

We will remember this as when the world stood still watching as a maniac kills his people with Russian and Iranian support while the rest of the world stood by.

I am ashamed that I ever voted for Obama and thought this man has a conscious.

Missing siyeseh 19 May 2013, 01:18

Formerlebaniz, i hate al assad as well but you can't seriously pretend that the US hasen't slaughtered civilians. In iraq, in afghanistan, in pakistan, japan, serbia just to name a few countries where the US army has slaughtered civilians.

Missing ulpianus 19 May 2013, 03:01

Who invented the internet? You people talk like there were no history or inventions that laid the ground for our modern inventions, BEFORE US even existed....
We can start counting where US slaughtered by discussing how many Indians are left in their homelands?

Missing cowboymicho 19 May 2013, 01:25

I totally agree with you josh. Those salafist/wahabist savages.

Missing formerlebaniz 19 May 2013, 01:36

Regarding the civilians killed in Iraq also have you forgotten the suicide bombs and car bombs that are happening daily and continuing now in Iraq or is that something we conveniently forget again to serve your narrative?

No, not ALL the American global involvement have been righteous nor is the US and the US politics the pure form of GOOD, but it certainly is daylight compared to the USSR/Russian/Iranian/North Korean/Syrian/Al-Qaeda and all other forces out there, or do we conveniently forget again to color the US as the prime evil?

Missing formerlebaniz 19 May 2013, 01:41

One more thing to add John, I'm glad you are keeping records and EVEN if you think in your head that the US did mistakes in the past that does not mean or justifies the killing of more innocent civilians to keep your ruthless dictator in power.

Two wrongs don't make a right.

Missing ulpianus 19 May 2013, 03:03

Strider all I can see in your post is Swearing. Doesnt seem like the words coming out from a productive, educated and hard working citizen...

Missing ulpianus 19 May 2013, 03:05

Formerlebaniz. You are partly right but don´t forget whomem created the Talibans from hell to start with. Yes, US through Bin Laden in order to fight the Sovjet. Had not the US supported them, they would never have risen to power..

Default-user-icon Zeid (Guest) 19 May 2013, 03:07

I'm a Christian and I have friends from all religious backgrounds and i cannot believe the administrator allowed such a stupid comment from josh to be posted. Josh, do not talk on behalf of Christian and Allawites, you're an embarrassment to your religion and the human race. And I remind the administrator to filter out racist comments like Joshe's in future.

Missing 19 May 2013, 03:42

When and if Bashar faces a trial for crimes against humanity, his lawyers best defense will be insanity. They will have plenty of evidence to back up their claim.

Thumb scorpyonn 19 May 2013, 07:28

Good one- except I do not think all of the people who have it out for him will be sympathetic.

Missing siyeseh 19 May 2013, 04:34

Former, you asked when has the US ever slaughtered civilians and you got your answer, no point in trying to whitewash their crimes with nonsence. When the US send drones that kill civilians at weddings, or at home including MANY kids, then yes the US is slaughtering civilians so please stop beating around the bush. When they kill japanese with a nuclear bomb they are slaughtering civilians. When they raped iraqi women and massacred thousands upon thousands, they are slaughtering civilians. Nobody said there arent others in those countries who also do the same but your specific question was about the US. Trying to be more catholic than the pope due to an inferiority complex only makes one seem pathetic.

Thumb scorpyonn 19 May 2013, 07:29

I am sure that his fate is sealed and he will be snuffed out in a most painful way- probably along eith his wife and kids--

Thumb scorpyonn 19 May 2013, 07:31

Assad ha learned how to lie from the Iranians-- they are experts at it and think that people are stupid enough to believe them. I hope they get blown off this planet by either Israel or the US.