BEIRUT - Agence France-Presse
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad. REUTERS Photo
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told visiting Lebanese politicians that his troops will win the ongoing war against rebels fighting to oust his regime, a pro-Damascus Lebanese daily reported on Monday.
The As-Safir newspaper said that Assad also told the politicians, who were unnamed in the report, that Syria's future belonged to his camp.
"We are sure we will win, we are reassured by the political and military developments," Assad was quoted as telling the Lebanese politicians, the newspaper said.
"That does not mean that everything is settled, we still have a lot to do politically and in the battle against extremist terrorist groups." Assad frequently receives Lebanese supporters of his regime such as Talal Arslan, a Lebanese Druze leader who was in Damascus on Sunday.
"We are convinced that the future is ours... Syria has the willpower to defeat the conspiracy," said Assad, according to As-Safir.
He said those "loyal" to his regime "represent the absolute majority of Syrians".
"Otherwise, how do you explain that the Syrian diplomatic corps the world over has remained faithful despite seductive offers made to ambassadors and consuls... millions of dollars have been offered to them, but they refused. This proves how great Syrian patriotism is." Two Syrian ambassadors -- serving in Iraq and the United Arab Emirates -- defected in 2012.
The Syrian charge d'affaires and top diplomat in London, Khaled al-Ayubi, and the charge d'affairs in Cyprus defected in 2012.
Ever since the outbreak of a revolt against his regime in March 2011 that later morphed into an insurgency, Assad has systematically labelled opponents and rebels alike as "terrorists" funded and backed by the West, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The rebels have currently stepped up an offensive in northern Syria, attacking airports in a bid to capture large stocks of ammunition from regime forces.
The United Nations says that nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict so far.