The Syria’s civil war could end within months, President Bashar Assad said in a speech at a dinner marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
“All the problems we face are connected to safety,” Assad said in the rare address, carried on national TV. “They can be solved only if terrorism is fought.”
Assad calls the rebels seeking his overthrow terrorists.
“So if we win the victory in the people’s war, Syria will overcome the crisis within months,” he said.
Syria’s army has achieved incredible success on the battlefield, Assad said, adding some dissidents were now fighting on the side of regime forces.
His remarks were cited by Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
Syrian Radio and TV, which issued a brief statement, didn’t say where the dinner where Assad spoke was held, but said it was attended by political party representatives, independent figures, Muslim and Christian religious figures, union representatives and civil society figures.
A senior U.S. intelligence official told the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado last month the Syrian conflict could last many, many months to multiple years.
“If Bashar Assad were to succeed, he will be a more ruthless leader who will live with a legacy of tens of thousands of his civilians killed under him,” Defense Intelligence Agency Deputy Director David Shedd said.
“If he loses and goes to an enclave inside there, I think there will be ongoing civil war for years to come,” Shedd said, adding groups such as the terrorist al-Nusra Front would fight to control parts of the country.
“They will fight for that space. They’re there for the long haul,” said Shedd, a 31-year intelligence veteran.
U.S. President Barack Obama declared two years ago Assad had to leave office.