Assad says Syria awaits US action to back up words on dialog
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has called on the US to translate into action its recent announcement on the necessity of negotiations with the government to end the crisis in Syria.
“We are still listening to the comments and we have to wait for the actions and then we’ll decide,” said Assad in an exclusive interview with the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) in the Syrian capital Damascus on Monday, referring to the recent comments of US Secretary of State John Kerry about the necessity of starting talks between Washington and Damascus over the Syrian conflict.
Any “talk about the future of the Syrian president is for Syrian people alone,” he stressed.
The Syrian president, however, said he welcomes any “sincere” change of stance on the part of the countries which have for long provided “logistical, financial and military support to terrorists,” adding that they should first stop their support for terrorists in the violence-wracked country.
“Any international changes that come about within that framework are something positive, if they are honest and have an effect on the ground,” Assad noted.
But before the realization of such a prospect “we have no choice but to defend our country,” he added.
Assad made the remarks after a meeting with Iran’s Minister of Economy and Finance Ali Tayebnia in Damascus.
On Sunday, Kerry (pictured below) said Washington should finally negotiate with Assad to reach an agreement over the country’s conflict.
“We have to negotiate in the end,” Kerry said in an interview with CBS News.
In a statement issued on Monday, the so-called Syrian National Coalition, the main Western-backed opposition group, reiterated its previous stance regarding Assad, saying “bringing down” Syria’s legitimate president is still “a main goal of the coalition.”
Syria has been grappling with a deadly crisis since March 2011. The violence fueled by Takfiri groups has so far claimed the lives of over 215,000 people, according to reports. New figures show that over 76,000 people, including thousands of children, lost their lives in Syria last year.
Over 7.2 million Syrians have reportedly become internally displaced due to the ongoing crisis.
The Takfiri terrorist groups, with members from several Western countries, control swathes of land in Syria and Iraq, and have been carrying out horrific acts of violence such as public decapitations and crucifixions against all communities such as Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, and Christians.