Syrian president Assad has told German newsmagazine Der Spiegel that he wants German envoys to go to Syria and has hinted that they could play a role in negotiating a settlement, although he also said that he doesn’t believe a deal with the rebels is possible, describing them as terrorists.
“The West has more confidence in Al Qaida than me,” he said, and went on to deny that his army had used chemical weapons, declaring that US President Obama “had not even a whisper of proof.” “He has nothing to offer but lies,” he said. The interview comes as UN-backed experts begin assessing Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons in order to destroy them.
In the interview, he also said that he would not run for re-election next year if he felt that he had lost the support of the Syrian people, but that he still felt safe in Syria. “If I were afraid,” he said, “I would have left Syria a long time ago.”
The next Syrian elections are due in August 2014.