(DAMASCUS, Syria) — Throughout the two-year conflict in his nation, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has never appeared anything less than confident that he would ultimately prevail over his opponents.
However, the embattled leader seems even more self-assured than ever as his military, bolstered by Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon as well as Russian and Iranian technical support, is making significant progress against rebel forces.
Al-Assad’s bravura was on display in an interview with Syria’s state-run Al-Thawra newspaper in which the president claimed his enemies at home and their foreign supporters have “exhausted all their tools” in their “conspiracy” to remove him from office.
He said that the only recourse left for the West is direct military intervention, a path that the U.S. and its allies are unwilling to take, according to al-Assad.
Over the past 28 months, more than 100,000 people have died in war-related violence in Syria. While the U.S. and European Union have promised arms for the rebels, nothing yet has been delivered.
Meanwhile, al-Assad also praised the military uprising in Egypt to overthrow President Mohammad Morsi, calling it an end of “political Islam.”
Al-Assad’s comments on Thursday came as the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition met in Istanbul in yet another attempt to unify their ranks.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Roshni Majumdar, CNN
Juliet Perry, Tim Hume and Livia Borghese, CNN
Billy Hallowell, Deseret News
Dave Gilbert, CNN