Syrians trust the government, says Assad
From the very start of the crisis, Bashar Assad has remained sure of the support of the Syrian people, the newly re-elected president said in an interview published Wednesday, The Daily Star reported.
"From the first moments of the crisis, which was brought to Syria to destroy it, I felt that the people trust the state and its president and its army," Assad told the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar. "This is why I kept betting on the ability of these people to hit the roots of the conspiracy."
Assad said the presidential election was proof that the people had not changed despite attempts at "mobilization, terrorism, takfirism and foreign conspiracy."
"I'm convinced, more than ever, of the people's ability to overcome this black phase in the history of Syria," he said.
Assad stressed that "dialogue" and the "culture of dialogue" were the theme of the current phase, bragging about the wide-ranging amnesty he granted for "fighters" after his re-election.
"We reconciled with armed fighters and we issued a general amnesty for them, so why not engage in dialogue with each other?" Assad asked.
He said Russian President Vladimir Putin had supported and continued to support the "Syrian position because he is convinced that what has happened in Syria is not the result of public outcry, but foreign countries' desires to destroy its role."
Addressing Western leaders, Assad said they wouldn't be able to do more than what they already had to change the equation.
He said he believed that the U.S. was under growing lobby pressure over Syria.
" U.S. officials, including former executives, are trying to maintain contact with us, but they do not dare because of lobbies pressuring them," Assad said, without naming any specific figures.
Despite its vocal condemnations of his regime, Assad - who claims the U.S., among other foreign powers, has orchestrated war on Syria - praised Washington for its balance.
"The Americans have proven they are more rational than the French, despite everyone's involvement in the conspiracy."
Assad said France's stringency appeared to be linked to financial deals with Saudi Arabia and other countries. He did not elaborate.
He pointed to the financial scandal that rocked former French Presidents Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy.
"Each conspirator is gone, and Syria will remain victorious with the broad spectrum of its people and its army."
Turning to Lebanon, Assad said he supported MP Michel Aoun for president.
"Aoun has proved to be an honest man. He fought with honor and reconciled with honor and held on to his stance on us," Assad said. "We welcome Aoun's election, although we don't interfere in the affairs of any Arab state."