Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that the West has started admitting that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a better choice to keep power in Syria than “terrorists”.
“Not only in private meetings but also in public comments, the idea is occurring to some Western colleagues that… Assad remaining in office is less of a threat for Syria than a takeover of the country by terrorists,” Lavrov said in an interview with Russian news agency RIA Novosti on Friday.
The remarks indicate an apparent shift in the West’s stance on the Syrian crisis, which has been pushing for Assad’s ouster.
The Russian foreign minister also emphasized that Assad “repeatedly said he wasn’t going to leave his country and wished to stay with his people and fulfill his duties.”
President Assad might run for the next year’s presidential elections, Lavrov stated.
“Indeed, he (Assad) said he didn’t exclude the possibility of running for presidency once again next year. He will make a decision closer to an election and it will depend on whether he would feel the support from the people,” Lavrov added.
Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since March 2011. According to reports, Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.
According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions of others displaced due to the violence.