Syria's Assad dismisses buffer zone talk
Published Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Syria needs more time to end the conflict raging across the country, President Bashar al-Assad said in a television interview to be broadcast by pro-regime Addounia channel on Wednesday.
Assad also scoffed at an idea being championed by Turkey of creating buffer zones within Syria to receive those displaced by the conflict, according to advance excerpts of the interview screened by the private channel.
"I can summarize in one phrase: we are progressing, the situation on the ground is better but we have not yet won – this will take more time," Assad said.
"Talk of buffer zones firstly is not on the table and secondly it is an unrealistic idea by hostile countries and the enemies of Syria," he added.
The Syrian leader also mocked those defecting from his regime, saying their departure amounted to a "self-cleansing of the government firstly and the country generally."
Assad paid tribute to government security forces, who have been fighting rebels nationwide, for their "heroic conduct."
"Despite several mistakes, there is a strong bond" between the regime and the Syrian people, Assad insisted, boasting the support of the majority of the country's population.
"Everyone is worried about their country, that is normal. But they (rebels) will not be able to spread fear, they never will," he said.
"I say to Syrians, destiny is in your hands, and not in the hands of others."
Addounia said it would screen the full interview at 1800 GMT on Wednesday.
Assad's comments come a day after a car bomb rocked the funeral of two government loyalists in a Damascus suburb killing 27 people and as his army kept up its bombardment of rebel strongholds in the east of the capital.
Fighting between rebels and loyalist troops raged in several flashpoints, including in the commercial hub Aleppo, northwestern Idlib province and eastern Deir Ezzor.
The UN says more than 18,000 people have been killed since the uprising against Assad's rule broke out in March last year, while another 214,000 people have fled to neighboring countries.