DAMASUS – Russia’s military intervention in Syria “was vital for the entire Middle East”, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Sunday.
This comes as Moscow stepped up its airstrikes in Syria.
Assad said that Syria’s alliance with Russia, Iran and Iraq “must succeed or else the whole region will be destroyed”.
“The chances of success for this coalition are great,” the embattled Syrian president said in a interview with the Iranian state TV on Sunday.
Russia has been conducting airstrikes on positions of the Islamic State (ISIS) for five consecutive days. However, Western critics and Syrian opposition activists said the Russian strikes are mainly hitting areas held by anti-Assad moderate rebels.
Western powers emphasized that Assad must step down for a transitional phase in Syria to succeed and end the more than four years war that has claimed lives of at least 250,000 people.
“If the solution was me stepping down, I would not hesitate,” Assad said, adding it is up to the Syrian people to decide who rules the country “not foreign leaders”.
The Syrian president said that the US-led coalition against ISIS “has failed to achieve any results”.
“I don’t think that coalition will achieve anything except a certain balance between those forces on the ground to keep the fire raging,” he said.
Reporting by: Laila Majdalawi