Syrian President Bashar Assad said the only solution to the crisis in his
country is to strike the terror groups "with an iron fist."
In a rare interview broadcast on Syrian state television Sunday night at a dinner marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, Assad said: "No solution can be reached with terror except by striking it with an iron fist," Iran's Press TV and Britain's Sky News quoted him as saying.
In his 45 minute address the Syrian leader called opposition groups unreliable, saying they have no role in solving the crisis.
The only solution to solving the crisis is on the battlefield he said.
"In this kind of fight we as Syrians either win together or lose together. It is true there is a battle being fought in the media and on the Internet, but the crisis will only be solved on the battlefield," he said.
Any political efforts to solve the situation can only occur after the terror groups are eliminated he said.
"There cannot be any political efforts or political progress if terror is striking everywhere. Therefore terror must be struck in order to get the political process moving on the right track. That does not mean that there cannot be parallel tracks. There is no reason why we shouldn't strike terror while at the same time working politically," the Syrian leader said.
Assad also predicted the country's civil war could end within months.
"All the problems we face are connected to safety," Assad said."They can be solved only if terrorism is fought."
Assad called the rebels seeking his overthrow "terrorists."
"So if we win the victory in the people's war, Syria will overcome the crisis within months," he said.
Syria's army has "achieved incredible success on the battlefield," Assad said, adding some dissidents were now fighting on the side of regime forces.
His remarks were cited by Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
Over 100,000 people are believed to have died and millions of Syrian civilians displaced in the uprising that erupted in March 2011. Assad's regime forces are not only suspected of war crimes against the civilian population but also using chemical weapons against them.
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