Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he plans to rule Syria until 2021 during an interview with a Russian newspaper last month.
“I’m just a headline – the bad president, the bad guy, who is killing the good guys,” Assad said, according to The New York Times. “You know this narrative. The real reason is toppling the government. This government doesn’t fit the criteria of the United States.”
In what some view as a public relations stunt, Assad invited British and American journalists and policy experts to his palace to discuss policies in the midst of a brutal civil war, The Daily Beast noted.
During the interview, Assad diverted any blame thrown his way that seemed to put him on the hot seat about the deadly war that has affected the country. Instead of taking the blame, he placed the responsibility on others; “the rebels, Islamic State terror group militants, and the United States government,” The Daily Beast said.
The Syrian leader also said he’d be making no political changes as he plans to at least finish out his third seven-year term, which ends in 2021, the Times noted.
He claimed that the “social fabric in Syria – a country where half the population has been driven from their homes, hundreds of thousands have been killed, tens of thousands more imprisoned and city centers reduced to rubble – was ‘much better than before’ the war,” The Daily Beast noted.
These remarks come after the UN accused the Syrian government and rebels of committing war crimes, which Assad called “politically motivated, fabricated or both,” the Times noted.
“All parties in Aleppo are conducting hostilities which are resulting in large numbers of civilian casualties, and creating an atmosphere of terror for those who continue to live in the city. Strikes against hospitals, schools, market places, water facilities and bakeries are now common place, and if proven to be intentional, may amount to war crimes,” UN spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said while speaking in Geneva, according to Euro News.
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