Assad Supports Political Dialogue

Assad Supports Political DialogueAssad Supports Political Dialogue

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Sunday he supports any political dialogue to end his country’s conflict, even if its effects are limited.

In a televised speech on Sunday before local dignitaries in Damascus, Assad said any initiative that is not based on fighting “terrorism” will be “hollow” and “meaningless,” Al Jazeera reported.

In his address, Assad said groups fighting to topple him had received increased backing from their state sponsors, in a reference to countries, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

With regard to conceding some areas of Syria, including the northwestern province of Idlib, he said it was necessary to “specify critical areas for our armed forces to hang on to.”

He added: “Concern for our soldiers forces us to let go of some areas. Every inch of Syria is precious.”

The Syrian Army has faced a series of setbacks since March: It lost parts of Idlib to a rebel alliance including the Syrian Al-Qaeda branch, the Nusra Front, and important areas of the southern border region to mainstream groups of the “Southern Front.”

The Islamic State group also seized the central city of Palmyra from the Syrian military in May.

“There is a lack of human resources” in the army, Assad said. “But that does not mean we can talk about collapse,” he added.

“We will resist ... the armed forces are capable of defending the motherland.”