DAMASCUS — Syrian President Bashar Assad praised allies Iran and Hezbollah and blasted the West, rejecting any security cooperation or reopening of embassies in Damascus before those countries cut relations with opposition groups.
He vowed that the Palestinian cause “is still a key issue from our point of view,” and declared that “Israel is still the enemy that occupies our lands.”
Under his leadership, he said, “Syria still supports all resistance groups in the region.”
Assad’s defiant comments on Sunday come at a time when his troops are gaining ground around the country and many countries have ceased calling for him to step down.
In a speech before dozens of Syrian diplomats in Damascus, Assad praised Russia, Iran, China and Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group for supporting his government during his country’s six-year civil war.
He said Syria would look east when it comes to political, economic and cultural relations.
Assad said recent deals to deescalate violence in Syria are good to reduce the bloodletting but vowed not to give the opposition in politics what it failed to gain through arms.