Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (R), standing beside his wife, speaks to the press after casting his vote on a new constitution in Damascus, February 26, 2012
Source: Press TV
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says the people of Syria are determined to crush terrorist groups and pursue the reforms in the country.
President Assad said the Syrian people, “who have in the past managed to crush foreign plots… have again proven their capacity to defend the nation and to build a new Syria through their determination to pursue reforms along with the fight against foreign-backed terrorism.”
“Any country draws its strength from the backing of its people.”
The Syrian president made the remarks during a meeting with a delegation from the Ukrainian parliament in Damascus on Tuesday.
Assad added that foreign forces are seeking to undermine the Damascus government.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011, with demonstrations being held both against and in favor of the Damascus government.
The United States and a number of other Western countries including the UK and France and countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey have supported measures against the Damascus government.
On Monday, veteran US Senator and the previous Republican presidential nominee John McCain called on Washington to conduct piloted airstrikes against Syria.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on March 4 that Ankara supports supplying arms to rebels in Syria fighting against the Assad government.
Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani said on February 27 that the “international community” should provide arms to the Syrian rebels and that “Arab countries should take the lead in providing a safe haven for rebels inside Syria.”
In addition to the US, Qatar and Turkey, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said during a meeting of the so-called “Friends of Syria” group in Tunisia on February 24 that supplying weapons to Syrian rebels is “an excellent idea.”
However, Syrians have repeatedly expressed support for the president over the past few months.
President Assad endorsed a newly drafted constitution on February 28 as part of the promised reforms in the country. The draft was put to vote in a February 26 referendum and won the overwhelming support of Syrian voters.
The new constitution excludes Article 8, which declared the ruling Baath Party as the “leader of the state and society,” and also establishes a multiparty system in Syria and limits the presidential term to two seven-year periods.