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Assad says he could have stepped down if it helped his country

September 29, 2013, 21:14 UTC+3
When asked if he planned to run for president in the 2014 elections, he said would take the decision before the elections
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Photo ITAR-TASS / Michael Pochuev

Photo ITAR-TASS / Michael Pochuev

ROME, September 29 (Itar-Tass) - Syrian President Bashar Assad said he could have stepped down if it could help improve the situation in the country.

“If my quitting of my position would make the situation better, the answer would be very simply, without reluctance, yes,” he said in an interview with Italy’s Rai News 24 television channel on Sunday. “But there is the other question; would the situation be better? So, for me as president, so far, I have to be in my position because when you have a storm, you don't give up your position. You don't quit your position and leave your country in the middle of the storm. Your mission is to take your country to the shore, not to abandon the ship and the Syrian people.”

When asked if he planned to run for president in the 2014 elections, he said would take the decision before the elections. “If I feel that the Syrian people want me to be in that position, I will run. If not, I will not,” he said.

He also said he was confident his country would become better when the crisis was over. “I can say with confidence that we can make Syria much better than before the crisis,” he pledged. “The only thing that I can say now is one option that's left for us; which is to defend our country. So, first of all, we have to focus on getting rid of the terrorists, their terrorism and their ideology.”

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