AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Sunday that while his country had foiled Western designs to topple him, his army had not won defeated insurgents and the fight was continuing.
In an televised address, Assad said that even though there were signs of victory after six-and-a-half years of civil war, the “battle continues, and where we go later and it becomes possible to talk about victory…that’s a different matter”.
He did not elaborate on that point.
However, he said the assistance extended by stalwart allies Russia, Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement had enabled the army to make battlefield gains and reduce the burden of war.
“Their direct support – politically, economically and militarily – has made possible advances on the battlefield and reduced the losses and burdens of war,” Assad added.
He said his country welcomed Russian-brokered, regional ceasefire deals that Moscow is seeking to extend elsewhere in Syria as these would end bloodshed and bring an end to insurgency and pardoning of rebels.
“We have an interest in the success of this initiative.”
However, Assad condemned U.S.-inspired “safe zones” which President Donald Trump earlier this year said he hoped to achieve with Russia, saying such a plan would only “give cover to terrorists.”