Despite a civil war that has left over 100,00 people dead, over 1 million as refugees and has torn Syria asunder, President Bashar Assad hailed the unity between the military and civilians in his country Sunday, and said they would together defeat “terrorism” — the regime term for the popular uprising.
Assad also said Damascus would be open to all “constructive and sincere efforts” to end the two-and-a-half-year civil war, the state-run SANA news agency reported.
Speaking to a delegation from Mauritania, Assad praised the Syrian people, who, despite all the pressures they face, “are full of life and faith in the homeland.”
Saying Israelis were the ones who benefited from civil unrest in the Arab world, Assad highlighted the importance of the pan-Arab parties, unions and popular organizations.
The visitors from Mauritania, an Islamic state in west Africa, praised the Syrian leader, saying that Damascus has long been the pan-Arab leader, and has paid a price for that role. The Mauritanians said all plots against Syria target all Arabs.
Syria has been wracked by civil war since March 2011, as rebels attempt to wrest control of the country from Assad and his minority Alawite regime.
The conflict has increasingly spilled over into neighboring countries, including Turkey and Israel, and terrorist organizations Hezbollah and Jabhat al-Nusra have taken different sides in the conflict.
Rights groups have estimated that more than 100,000 Syrians have been killed since the violence erupted, including over 36,000 civilians. In the same period, more than 10,000 people have gone missing and 1 million refugees have fled the country, primarily going to Jordan.
Lazar Berman contributed to this report.