The Syrian president has lauded his military troops, saying they are fighting the “fiercest” war but that he is confident they will win in the country’s conflict.
Bashar Assad’s comments came in a statement marking Syria’s Army Day on Thursday.
“Had we in Syria not been confident of victory, we wouldn’t have been able to resist” for over two years, Assad said.
More than 100,000 people have been killed since the uprising against the Assad family’s four-decade rule began in March 2011. The revolt later escalated into a civil war which has uprooted millions of people from their homes.
Downplaying the popularity of the opposition against him, Assad said the bond between the people and the army was “the secret of our legendary steadfastness,” according to state-run media.
“You have shown the whole world that pressure and conspiracies, no matter how tough and varied, will only make you even more determined to confront challenges,” he said.
Assad’s forces have been making significant gains against the rebels on several key fronts recently, mostly in the central province of Homs and near the capital Damascus.
Amid the carnage, Assad has used every tool at his disposal, including social media, to project the air of confidence on display Thursday. Most recently, the Syrian president’s office joined the popular photo-sharing service Instagram, posting pictures of himself and his wife Asma surrounded by idolizing crowds.