Damascus: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad took the oath of office on Saturday. In the fourth seven-year term of this war-torn country, he promised to overcome the impact of Western economic sanctions and regain it after 10 years of fighting. Controlled territory.
When the swearing-in ceremony was held at the Presidential Palace, clergy, legislators, politicians, military officers, and other supporters participated in the swearing-in ceremony, but activists reported that the government’s shelling of the last rebel enclave in the northwest caused at least six people. Death, including 3 children and their grandmother.
There is no doubt that Assad was re-elected with an overwhelming advantage in May. The West and Syrian opposition have described it as illegal and false.
Since taking power in 2000, his new term began in a country that is still ravaged by war, and has been further plunged into a worsening economic crisis. European and American governments have been charged for most of the atrocities in the war, and Assad is facing increasingly widespread sanctions, which also target his close aides and state institutions.
Assad said in his inauguration speech that all his worries are about “liberating the land and dealing with the economic and social impact of war.”
“It is possible to make things better, of course possible,” he said, speaking for more than an hour. “War and siege did not completely close the gates… we can pass them. We just need to know how to do it.”
The United Nations estimates that more than 80% of Syrians live below the poverty line. The Syrian currency has been depreciating, and basic services and resources are scarce or provided at excessively high parallel market prices. The fighting has basically subsided, but parts of Syria are still out of government control, and foreign troops and militias are deployed in different parts of the country.
Assad claimed that Syrian funds stranded in Lebanese banks — he estimated between US$4-60 billion — were a greater challenge than sanctions. Lebanon is facing its own economic crisis. He said that this deprived Syria of funds and put pressure on the Syrian pound. The current exchange rate of the Syrian pound to the U.S. dollar is about 3,000, while the exchange rate against the U.S. dollar at the beginning of the war was 47 pounds.
Assad received support from Iran and Russia, and Iran and Russia sent troops and aid to support him throughout the war. The UN-led negotiations to end the conflict failed to make any progress.
Encouraged by the military victory, Assad called on the exiled Syrians to return home, saying they were “misled by the illusion of rebelling against his rule.”
After being sworn in, Assad met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who arrived in Damascus earlier on Saturday. He is the highest-level Chinese official who has visited Damascus for many years. Assad thanked China for its support.
Nearly half of Syria’s pre-war population was either displaced or lived as refugees in neighboring countries or Europe. This war has caused nearly 500,000 deaths, tens of thousands of missing, and destroyed infrastructure.
The conflict that began in 2011 began with the government’s suppression of peaceful protests, turning the opposition that opposed the Assad family’s decades of rule into an armed rebellion. Assad took over his father Hafez in 2000, who died after taking power in a bloodless military coup in 1970.
The May election—the second election during the ten-year civil war—had no independent monitors. Assad won 95.1% of the votes in a symbolic competition between the two candidates.
U.S. and European officials stated that the vote violated the UN resolution to resolve the conflict and does not represent all Syrians.
According to rescuers and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (a war monitoring agency with activists in the area), despite the ceasefire agreement reached since March 2020, government shells hit the northwestern part of Idlib Province on Saturday The village Serjeh. Among the six victims, there was also a White Helmet volunteer, a civil defense organization in the opposition area.
In recent weeks, as government forces strive to restore control of the territory, violence has escalated in the enclave, which has a population of nearly 4 million.
The truce was negotiated between Turkey, which supports the Syrian opposition and deploys troops in the region, and Russia, the main supporter of the Syrian government. At that time, it stopped a Russian-backed government air and ground operation aimed at retaking the area.
UNICEF stated that 512 children were confirmed to have been killed in the fighting in Syria last year, most of them in the northwest, where there are 1.7 million vulnerable children, many of whom have fled the violence many times.