President al-Assad: This really depends on the will of the Syrian people at the time. If I feel that there is a strong public desire for to me to run, I will not hesitate and vice versa. We may not have accurate measures at the moment, but we do have strong indications. The strongest indicator is that when you are fighting terrorists from over 80 countries who are supported by Western and Arab states, if your people do not embrace you, you simply cannot carry on. Syria has been resilient for two-and-a-half years this is an important indication of strong public support.
Le Figaro: Mr. President how much are you prepared to fight in this crisis?
President al-Assad: We have two options: we either defend our country against terrorism or we surrender. The history in this region has never known surrender; it has seen many wars, yet it has never and will never surrender.
Le Figaro: So will fight and sacrifice your life for Syria?
President al-Assad: When it becomes a matter of patriotism, we will all fight to defend our country – whether we are citizens or the president, it is not about the individual but rather about the whole nation. What is the point in living if your country is dead?
Le Figaro: Mr. President, do you take responsibility for the mistakes that have been committed including those by the army and the security forces? Do you accept that mistakes have been made?
President al-Assad: Any human being makes mistakes in their work. If you do not make mistakes you are either not human or you do not work. I am a human being and I work. However, when you want to evaluate your mistakes you need to do so in hindsight when the events are behind you and you are able to see the results of your actions. We are currently in the heart of the battle; when it is over, we can assess the results and determine whether we were right or wrong on particular matters.
Le Figaro: Are you confident of winning the battle?
President al-Assad: The history of our region teaches us that when our people defend themselves, they inevitably win. This is not a war against the President or the Government alone, it is a war against the entire country, and we shall be victorious.
Le Figaro: Having said this, your army has lost control over certain areas in the North, East and South. Do you believe that you can regain these areas?
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