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A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows Syrians waving the national flag and some holding placards bearing a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad, as they rally in the capital Damascus. -AFP Photo
A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows Syrians waving the national flag and some holding placards bearing a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad, as they rally in the capital Damascus. -AFP Photo

DAMASCUS: The “project of political Islam has failed,” Syria's President Bashar al-Assad said on Monday, calling for the separation of religion from politics, state television said.

Assad's regime has been battling an uprising that has come to be dominated by Islamists, ranging from moderates to radicals, who want to see Syria run as an Islamic state.

“The project of political Islam has failed, and there should be no mixing between political and religious work,” he said in comments on the 67th anniversary of the founding of his Baath party.

Assad refers to all those fighting against him as “terrorists” and has said that he is battling extremists with retrograde ideas.

The president has repeatedly stressed the need for all parts of Syrian society to challenge “extremism”.

Assad said his government was also “continuing with the process of reconciliation, because what concerns us is ending the bloodshed and the destruction of infrastructure”.

In recent months, Assad's government has negotiated limited ceasefires with rebels who agree to raise the government's flag in their neighbourhoods, and in many cases turn over their weapons.

The deals usually follow months-long sieges by the army, which have contributed to humanitarian crises in parts of the country.

Syria's conflict, which began in March 2011, has left more than 150,000 people dead.

DAWN_VIDEO - /1029551/DAWN-RM-1x1


Comments (12) Closed



jjjj Apr 07, 2014 07:40pm

For Iran too??

khuma Apr 07, 2014 08:33pm

Do include Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in the list.

Syed Apr 07, 2014 11:23pm

Good Job Asad, continue fighting till you put all the rats in their hole.

mimi sur Apr 07, 2014 11:23pm

Islamists thought to introduce 'political Islam' to unite Islamic countries . But how can you unite countries which are established not upon religion , but upon sects of religion. How can a caliphate win over all the Muslims , when Christians fought among each other in the world wars. Iran-Saudi, Pakistan-Bangladesh are examples of how political Islam brought misery .

NHM Apr 08, 2014 07:57am

Mr Asad, in these present times, religion cannot survive without politics or money. Take our example, here in Pakistan, we do not follow Allah's Islam but an Islam of the highest bidder.

Jaffer Sheriff Apr 08, 2014 11:36am

Yes mr.Assad - we agree to it. Most Pakistanis support you. Saudi Arabia will be the first country to collapse if politics and religion is separated.

sabeeh omer Apr 08, 2014 11:39am

He is talking the language of the west.

sarah hussaini Apr 08, 2014 06:01pm

good job mr asad u should continue your fight against fake muslim millitant groups who are hitting tombs and shrines of hazrat MOHAMMAD,S s.w.w nears and dears and killing innocent citizens.

Ghost Apr 08, 2014 09:54pm

Keep it up Assad. Finish off those Western and Saudi supported terrorist

Sarwat Apr 09, 2014 04:46am

May peace prevails in Syria. Too many died for what? Saudi Arabia sent its Al-Qaeda terrorists, Iran sent its Hezbollah, innocent people paid the price. Where were Syrians, maybe standing by looking helplessly while their country turns into ruins. No one comes out as a winner in wars, its a false sense of being victorious. You lose you humanity, and without humanity what are we?

muhammad Apr 10, 2014 05:54pm

@sabeeh omer: if according to you "He is talking the language of the west" then why West has sent so many terrorists in Syria to topple his government ?

Zak Apr 10, 2014 07:29pm

Never be smug Mr Assad, you are hanging by the threads, west has lost stomach for wars and conflicts in the last few years. But they will return after a rest and once Russia and China don't need you- the writing will be on the wall.

Show humility and with clean heart, ask to discuss a road map for the future , one in which your children are not the legal heirs of Syria under one sect ruling. At times Wisdom is better than colour and arrogance.