By Javier Manjarres
Syria’s President Bashar Assad was finally poked his head out to address the ongoing civil war that has gutted his country of both resources and political standing around the world in an attempt to extend an ‘olive branch’ of sorts to dissidents whom he considers not to be “extremists or carrying out an foreign agenda.”
Oddly enough, Assad condemned the “murderous criminals” as Islamist “extremists,” and “terrorists who carry the ideology of al-Qaeda” and called for an end to “terrorism.”
Assad’s words reek of hypocrisy as his regime was already hit with U.S. sanctions in 2011 for human rights violations, and he’s been an active supporter of terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Hamas. The Assad regime’s favorite proxy against Israel is Hezbollah, as it has continued to offer both political and military support for the terrorist front in Lebanon against sovereign state of Israel.
Speaking at the Opera House in central Damascus, Assad told the hall packed with his supporters that “we are in a state of war. We are fighting an external aggression that is more dangerous than any others, because they use us to kill each other.”
“It is a war between the nation and its enemies, between the people and the murderous criminals,” he added. The audience frequently broke out in cheers and applause.
As in previous speeches, Assad said his forces were fighting groups of “murderous criminals” and jihadi elements and denied that there was an uprising against his family’s decades-long rule.
He stressed the presence of religious extremists and jihadi elements among those fighting in Syria, calling them “terrorists who carry the ideology of al-Qaeda” and “servants who know nothing but the language of slaughter.”
He struck a defiant tone, saying Syria will not take dictates from anyone and urged his countrymen to unite to save the nation.
Outlining his peace initiative, he said: “The first part of a political solution would require regional powers to stop funding and arming (the rebels), an end to terrorism and controlling the borders.”
He said this would then be followed by dialogue and a national reconciliation conference and the formation of a wide representative government which would then oversee new elections, a new constitution and general amnesty.
However, Assad made clear his offer to hold a dialogue is not open to those whom he considers extremists or carrying out a foreign agenda.
“We never rejected a political solution … but with whom should we talk? With those who have extremist id? - Fox News
Assad’s extension of a peace offering could be a last ditch effort to stave off further international involvement that would all but ensure his ousting from power. Many in the international community believe that Assad’s days are numbered and that it’s only a matter of time before he see the writing on the wall and flees to another country that will offer him asylum.
Russia remains one Syria’s closest allies and it might be willing to grant asylum to Assad and his family.
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