Assad Says Too Early to Say Whether He Will Seek Re-election Next Year
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Syrian President Bashar Assad says it's still too early to say whether he'll run for re-election in next year's presidential vote.
Assad says "the picture will be clearer" in the next four to five months because Syria is going though "rapid" changes on the ground.
He spoke in an interview with Turkish television channel Halk TV, aired late Thursday.
Assad has been president since 2000; his second seven-year-term ends in mid-2014.
Syria's opposition wants him to step down and hand over power to a transitional government, with full powers until new elections are held, AP reported.
Assad -- bolstered by key ally Russia -- has refused that demand, rejecting any call for dialogue that includes the precondition of his stepping down.
The Obama administration has deemed him no longer credible as a state leader, but the international diplomacy on the Syria crisis has become focused on the more immediate goal of destroying ُSyria's chemical weapons.
Any hopes for a political solution to the war, which is still claiming dozens of lives each day with conventional weapons, seem distant.
Assad said that if he feels Syrians don't want him, he "will not run."