Syrian President Bashar al-Assad admitted to his nation Wednesday night in a televised interview the civil war will “take time to resolve.”
However, in the same odd, disconnected manner that characterized an interview on American television months earlier, Assad appeared to leave no room for doubt that he still believes the government will win the savage conflict that has torn apart his country for the past 18 months.
Speaking on a private television channel owned by cousin Rami Makhlouf, Assad described the numerous defections by top military and other officials in his government, as a “self-cleaning process” eliminating traitors from the land.
The civil war, ignited in March 2011, was framed as a “regional and international war” that would “take time to resolve.”
Syria's road to savagery began after a youth was severely punished by government forces after scrawling an anti-government slogan on a wall in Dera'a in solidarity with the region-wide Arab Spring uprisings.
Government forces followed up by arresting protesters who demonstrated in response to the brutality, and torturing activists – several of whom were killed in the process. People began “disappearing” and others were simply shot to death by government troops.
Syrian Army soldiers, themselves eventually sickened by being forced to slaughter their own unarmed citizens, began defecting to the opposition – and thus ignited a full-blown war.
Nevertheless, Assad seemed unmoved by the march towards anarchy, insisting that when all was said and done, government forces would prevail, and “Syria will return to the Syria before the crisis.”
The president's unshakeable sense of denial was precisely the same as that seen in the ABC News network interview broadcast last year in an exclusive interview with top U.S. journalist Barbara Walters. In that interview, Assad told the veteran interviewer, "We don't kill our people. No government in the world [would] kill its people unless it's led by a crazy person." The Syrian president utterly denied any responsibility for the deaths thousands of Syrians who were tortured and killed, including those in detention, by government forces.
As blood continues to run in the streets of the capital, the country is moving ahead, Assad told the nation from his comfortable chair in the palace Wednesday night. The situation, he assured Syrian citizens, is “getting better.”