Assad: Won't Hesitate to Step Down

A change of tone? Syrian President tells Iranian TV he won't rule out stepping down if the situation requires.

Ben Ariel, Canada ,

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is not ruling out stepping down if the situation in Syria requires it.

Assad’s comments were made in an interview which aired Sunday on Iranian Khabar TV and which were tweeted out by his official account:

He also said a coalition between Syria, Russia, Iran and Iraq must succeed "or else the whole region will be destroyed", according to excerpts from the interview quoted by the BBC.

Assad also criticized the American-led coalition and its airstrikes in Syria and Iraq as counter-productive, saying that terrorism had only spread.

He further said that Syria, Russia, Iran and Iraq were united in battling terrorism and would achieve "practical results", unlike the U.S.-led coalition.

Assad's comments are the first since Russia launched its first airstrikes against rebel positions in Syria last Wednesday.

Russia insisted it had been targeting ISIS in the Homs and Hama districts of the country, but an American official later said the targets were U.S.-backed "moderate" rebel groups fighting ISIS.

Russia only gave the United States an hour's warning ahead of the strikes and did not specify where they would occur, riling many in the Pentagon who had been hoping for clearer and more detailed lines of communication.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter later accused Russia of inflaming Syria's civil war, saying Moscow's military involvement in the war-torn nation was "doomed to fail" and that Moscow's entry into the bloody conflict was akin to "pouring gasoline on the fire."

Iran, however, gave the Russian airstrikes its seal of approval on Thursday, with its foreign ministry spokeswoman saying the airstrike are a step to solving "the crisis" in the region.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Simchat Torah and Shmini Atzeret in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)