Syrian President Bashar Assad gave a rare public speech Sunday as violence continues to rage across his country. Contrary to expectations that Assad would reveal a compromise aimed at solving the conflict, the embattled ruler called instead for a “full national mobilization” to fight his enemies.
Assad did term his initiative a peace plan, saying that after “terrorist” rebels are defeated, “those who have not betrayed Syria” would be given amnesty and included in the creation of a new government.
Assad dismissed most of those fighting his rule as Al-Qaeda terrorists, and called on the world to stop giving them support.
“The first stage of a political solution would require that regional powers stop funding and arming [the opposition], an end to terrorist operations and controlling the borders,” he said.
Assad added that his administration “will not have dialogue with a puppet made by the West.”
The United Nations estimates that over 60,000 people have died in fighting since anti-Assad riots first broke out in Syria in March 2011. Each side has accused the other of human rights abuses, including targeting civilians for slaughter.