Assad: We Regained the Upper Hand

Pupils salute prior to entering classrooms at a school in Damascus on 27 January 2013. Syrian students started the second term of the school-year despite the ongoing conflict (Photo: AFP - HO/SANA)

Published Monday, January 28, 2013

Damascus – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told visitors that the Syrian army "regained the initiative on the ground to a very high degree and achieved important results, which will come to light soon."

"Externally funded armed groups received several hard blows recently," Assad added.

"The US is not ready for a solution in the time being." He believed that Russia will remain his ally. "It is defending itself, not the regime in Syria," he continued, stressing that "we will not budge from the articles of the Geneva agreement."

These positions were relayed to Al-Akhbar by Arab visitors to the Syrian presidential palace who were interested in seeing the inner workings of Syrian decision-making first hand, specifically when it comes to the president himself.

One of those visitors sat with Assad for more than three hours. He told Al-Akhbar that despite not being too influenced by anti-Assad propaganda, he was surprised at what he saw and heard. The Syrian president holds regular meetings in al-Rawda Palace in Damascus. His team follows up on his work as usual. On the personal level, the man seems calm and in control. His confidence level stands out. Also, there’s the news of the pregnancy of his wife Asmaa, which could not be dealt with as a simple personal matter between a couple.

From the personal to the political, Assad surprises his guests "by his intricate reading of the situation in this phase." This comment was repeated by several people who saw him recently. He speaks about "the minutest details in the Syrian provinces. His information encompasses a street here and the news of a small neighborhood there. The reports he receives are comprehensive, even when they’re not to his liking."

According to his visitors, "Assad is thoroughly aware of the international efforts to solve the crisis in Syria.” Some remark by saying, “If it was not so, the state would not have been able to survive for this long, the Syrian Arab Army would not have maintained its cohesion.”

Assad, as his visitors told Al-Akhbar, maintains that “the army has regained the initiative on the ground to a large extent, achieving important results, in addition to what it had achieved in the last 22 months. It stopped fighters from controlling whole governorates, limiting their playground to border zones with Turkey mainly, and Jordan and Lebanon to an extent. There are also some pockets in the capital’s countryside, which are being dealt with by the army. The capital Damascus is in a better situation. Its strategic points – despite all the attempts by the militants – remained safe, especially the airport road.”

Stopping at what happened at the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp outside Damascus, Assad says that camp has its symbolism, which led the Syrian leadership not to take the decision to confront the militants that occupied a part of it. The solution of the Yarmouk predicament was left to the Palestinian factions, to provide initiatives for a solution, which the Syrian official side agreed to.

The Syrian president was asked by his visitors about what he said in the Opera House about “refusing to let Syria become a hotel resort.” He answered by saying that he does not want to dwell on that debate, but “I was hurt by those who should have been witness that our dealings with the Palestinian factions were never based on religion or confession.”

“Instead, they became false witnesses claiming that the Syrian state is acting in a sectarian manner. Logic says that we should expect them to tell the truth. We understand the circumstances of some of them, and we would have accepted their silence if they had been unable to be rightful witnesses.”

The Syrian president said that despite the positions adopted by leaders of some Palestinian factions “Syria, which paid dear from the pockets and savings of its impoverished people in support of the Palestinian resistance, will not bend on this support.”

Assad asserts that “what the Syrian army achieved in the last few weeks will come to light soon.” He shares some details, which can be taken as an indicator of “a real change of the situation on the ground. For example, there are 15,000 citizens who returned voluntarily to Homs. The Syrian people are fed up already with all these deviants that destroyed their streets, homes, and commercial shops.”

Assad sees that “closing the Syrian borders to the weapons and smugglers could resolve the issue in two weeks, since the sources of money and arms will be destroyed.”

He told his visitors that “the externally-funded armed groups received strong blows recently. This development intersects with an international move, most prominently the inclusion of al-Nusra Front on the terrorism list, which will be followed by further measures that will lead to wiping out this al-Qaeda branch altogether.”

Assad believes that the US is not ready for a solution in the time being. He believes Russia will continue to support him. “It is protecting itself, not the Syrian regime,” he explained, stressing that “we will not budge on the articles of the Geneva agreement.”

He stressed that Syria will continue to cooperate with the Arab-International envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, although “the latter seemed in his latest visit to Damascus to be somehow influenced by the media campaign against Syria.”

Assad’s visitors maintain that Brahimi suggested that the president steps down in the transitional phase on the basis that any president will not have serious powers in such a period. But the Syrian president “blocked him and explained to him in his special way that what will solve the crisis in Syria is the situation in the field, which is getting better every day in favor of the regime.”

Today, according to his visitors, Assad follows the news about the war taking place in his country. In his opinion, he was able to surpass the most difficult stages and things will be clear soon. He stresses the need for “logistical arrangements for the next phase. There is a plan to return the refugees to their districts and homes, which will be announced in due time and there are other plans for reconstruction.”

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Comments

Peace negotiation are needed here... No need for war to continue this... especeially now that foreign armed groups are now involved in this war. Syria itself must have resolution only by Syrian people not by some leaders of America, not by some leaders of Arab countries, and not for some leaders of West countries. Be sensitive in helping the Syrian people through peaceful manner not through supporting war by providing armaments and weaponry.

Assad is simply a leader and only capable to hold the country united against those islamic remnants coming from the Middle Ages. Who are we kidding here??? Nobody of those lunatics in their videos in you tube seeks democracy. They all screams like fanatics they are the name of God!!!!! and try to justify their crimes imposing Saria Law. West is hunting them in Mali and support them in Syria???? I cant find a good reason....and Turkeys Islamic government game???? Support those poor minded ignorants simply because they want to turn them against the Kurds of Northwest Syria. That was already happened in the boarder city of Ras. Talking about the midle east news agencies and Jazzera propaganda is no more needed. They become the Qatar state TV including those antigovernment reports of AFP and Reuters whoa re always accompanied in the ground by the rebels!!! How can they be objective????

Assad is a thug and sooner rather than later he will die like a dog in the hands of the people he and his father have brutalized over the last three decades-God help him

Can you explain why you think a progressive leader like Assad is a thug? What concrete evidence have you got that he and his father have brutalised the syrian people for the last 3 decades? (not including the lies and propaganda of the western media). The syrian people have choosen to elect assad and his father over the last 3 decades. This is not the actions of people being brutalised these are the actions of the people of syria who support Assad. The syrian people deserve to have their say and they said over overwhelmingly (70% of the people) to keep assad. By the way using language such as "sooner rather than later he will die like a dog" are more like the words a thug would use. Please show me the evidence of your vile accusations or at least do some research into syrian affairs and assad. VICTORY TO ASSAD.

Tina, while I loath most of the opposition against Assad and do not support the international meddling in the country, your denial that the Assad regime is repressive is quite silly. There is enough documentation of torture, repression, mass detainment, and the lack of freedom of choice politically and economically, and harassment and brutality by the security and military apparatus in the last 50 years. As a Syrian, to me, you're stance is as idiotic as those who blindly support the other side. Please don't speak for us. You are as ignorant as the person you are responding to.

No to Assad and No to the SNC. Down with Russia and the US. Down with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.

So I guess that, as a "Westerner", you must feel real proud to be on the same side as Al Qaida, Wahhabis, Salafis, and Muslim Brotherhood in wanting another secular Arab leader dead and "dragged through the streets", eh? People like you are literally the scum of the earth!

good things comes to those who are steadfast and patient....Assad you will win any future election that you declare.....

This is a propaganda story yet again fabricated by a pro Assad paper. If he was really so calm why are fsa rebles closer to Latakia? Why did his mother move to Dubai? Why did his foreign ministry defect? The ship is sinking for him and not only has he dragged his Alwatie Clan with him, he has killed his own soilders. Bashar al Assad surrounds his slef with fanatical bathest and he is making all the wrong decesions IRAN I's destroying Syria not the U.S

I'm very surprised. I expected Assad to tell his visitors about his sleepless nights, but he didn't.

This must be Jean Aziz scoring another scoop for al-Akhbar.

This guy is indeed superhuman.

Strange as for the past few months the Western Censors has been successful of blanking out news coming out of Syria. Then out comes this
story.

Yeah. Also the visitors were surprised to discover that Superman, Hulk and Grendizer were there assisting this modern-day Hercules achieve so much.

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