Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

1/7/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

First public appearance in six months show Syrian dictator as bloodthirsty as ever

Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad had not given a public appearance or speech in over six months. When it was learned that he would be addressing the nation in a televised assembly, there was scattered hope that he would step down and strike a truce with the forces that have brought his nation to its knees. No chance: Assad was as defiant and belligerent as ever, and pledged to continue fighting until rebel forces seceded.

Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad was as defiant and belligerent as ever in his first speech in 10 months, and pledged to continue fighting until rebel forces seceded.

Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad was as defiant and belligerent as ever in his first speech in 10 months, and pledged to continue fighting until rebel forces seceded.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/7/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Bashar al-Assad, Syria, defiance, loyalists, international condemation


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - Bashar urged Syrians to mobilize in a "war to defend the nation," a defiant call to arms in an hour-long speech to cheering loyalists in the opera house in the capital Damascus. Railing against "enemies of God and puppets of the West," the speech was his first since June of last year.

Bashar declared he would not talk to those he called extremists "who only understand the language of terrorism" or to "puppets" of the West. "We negotiate with the master not with the slave," he said.

The president's speech was interrupted by supporters who shouted and applauded. "With blood and soul we sacrifice for you, O Bashar," the crowd chanted.

"We are now in a state of war in every sense of the word," Bashar said. "This war targets Syria using a handful of Syrians and many foreigners. Thus, this is a war to defend the nation."

Bashar continues to hold the view that the Syrian crisis was not an uprising against his family's decades-long rule but a foreign-backed agenda.

"Is this a revolution and are these revolutionaries? By God I say they are a bunch of criminals," he said.

Following the speech, fierce loyalists rushed to the stage, mobbing Bashar and shouted "God, Syria and Bashar is enough!" The president smiled, waved and blew kisses as he left.

The United Nations has estimated that 60,000 people have died in the 21-month uprising.

Bashar's speech drew international condemnation. "He has the most phenomenal amount of blood on his hands," British Prime Minister David Cameron said.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it would build a fortified fence along the border with Syria, warning that radical Islamist forces have taken over the area. Netanyahu also expressed fears that extremists could gain control of Syria's chemical weapons if Assad falls.

NATO is preparing to send U.S and European Patriot surface-to-air missile batteries to the Turkish-Syrian border. U.S troops and equipment began arriving in Turkey on Friday for the deployment at Syria's border with Turkey. Germany and the Netherlands are also sending Patriot batteries, which will take weeks to deploy fully.

Turkey and NATO both say the missiles are a safeguard to protect southern Turkey from possible Syrian missile strikes.

Syria, along with allies Russia and Iran warn that the deployments could spark military action by the Western alliance.

---


Pope Francis calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More Middle East

Asia Bibi remains in prison, reluctant officials hide behind bureaucracy Watch

Image of Asia Bibi remains in prison, judges unwilling to take up her case for fear of violence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Asia Bibi, the Pakistani woman facing death for blasphemy in Pakistan still sits in a women's prison her case held up by deliberate delays and a reluctance of judges and others to hear her case. Officials are afraid that they will become targets of Islamic ... continue reading


Dutch priest beaten, killed at his Syrian monastery Watch

Image of Father Frans van der Lugt was described as a man of great courage who

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Dutch Jesuit priest, 75-year-old Frans van der Lugt was beaten and shot dead by unidentified gunmen at his monastery in Homs, Syria this week, the Vatican said. He had been living in Syria since the early Seventies. He's being described as man of great courage ... continue reading


Tunisian government strives to root out Islamist influence from Mosques Watch

Image of Tunisia's newly elected government, recognizing that one of the nation's chief sources of revenue is tourism, has wasted little time in quelling extremist factions there.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

Tunisian authorities, along with the Islamist party Ennahda had clashed on several levels for any months. The conflict was felt on all strata of Tunisian society. Violence roiled in the streets, to the universities, in places of worship and private homes. ... continue reading


Syrian refugees in Lebanon passes one million mark Watch

Image of U.N. staff in Lebanon register 2,500 new Syrian refugees every day, the UNHCR said.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As Syria's devastating Civil War drags into its fourth year without an end in sight, the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon has officially passed the one million mark, the United Nations' refugee agency says. Syrian refugees now make up almost a quarter of ... continue reading


Meet Catholic Online's new Middle East correspondent Watch

Image of Kaci Racelma received his Bachelor of English literature in 1996. He has worked in the daily Algerian newspaper la Nouvelle République since 1998.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Journalist Kaci Racelma has joined the Catholic Online family as a much needed and vaunted Middle East correspondent to our international news desk. We welcome his wealth of experience in relaying breaking stories in this complex part of the world.  LOS ... continue reading


Authorities break up kiddie sex abuse ring, 17-year-old pimp and several men arrested Watch

Image of Several hundred women in Israel - many of them foreigners - are trafficked within the country annually for commercial sexual exploitation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Tel Aviv Police have arrested seven men in connection with a child molestation ring. An undercover investigation began after one of the purported victims came forward and told them about a number of girls who had sex with a group of adults in exchange for ... continue reading


New Saudi Arabian law defines atheists as 'terrorists' Watch

Image of Saudi King Abdullah has clamped down on all forms of political dissent and protests that could

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a report from Human Rights Watch, Saudi Arabia has introduced a series of new laws which define atheists as terrorists. King Abdullah has issued Royal Decree 44, which criminalizes "participating in hostilities outside the kingdom" with prison ... continue reading


Executions on the rise: United States among top five countries Watch

Image of The report does note that only a small number of countries, about one in 10, carry out executions, and 140 countries are against the death penalty either in law or actions.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Executions for criminals for a variety of crimes has risen across the world. While the majority of these executions take place in the Middle East, the United States is among the top five nations that has experienced an uptick in capital punishment. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


LEFT INTACT: Lawrence of Arabia's remote hideaway found with many personal affects Watch

Image of Almost 100 years before T. E. Lawrence returned to civilian life, a secret desert camp used by him - under his more famous nom de plume of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Almost 100 years before T. E. Lawrence returned to civilian life, a secret desert camp used by him - under his more famous nom de plume of "Lawrence of Arabia" has been found intact. Located in modern-day Jordan, the encampment was still littered with spent ... continue reading


9,000 year old 'Ritual Wand' with face sculpture uncovered in Syria Watch

Image of The wand was first uncovered during excavations in 2007 and 2009 at a site in southern Syria called Tell Qarassa. An artificial mound made from the debris of everyday human life had gradually built up in layers over millennia.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

One of the biggest losses brought upon by the Syrian civil war, now in its fourth year, is the loss of priceless archaeological sites. Many of these sites have been looted or bombed since the war's onset, but there are notable exceptions. One of the most ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 50:4-9
4 Lord Yahweh has given me a disciple's tongue, for ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34
8 I am estranged from my brothers, alienated from my ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 26:14-25
14 Then one of the Twelve, the man called Judas ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 16th, 2014 Image

St. Bernadette
April 16: On April 16, 1879, Bernadette -- or Sister Marie-Bernard, as she ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter