BEIRUT (AP) — President Bashar Assad says on TV that Syria is fighting a "regional and global battle" and it will take time for his regime to win it.
In excerpts from the interview with a private Syrian channel to be broadcast in full later Wednesday, the Syrian leader says his regime is "moving forward" but has not won the battle yet.
Rebels are fighting to overthrow Assad, who came to office in 2000 after succeeding his father, the late Hafez Assad who ruled Syria with an iron fist for some 30 years. The Syrian conflict has its roots in a wave of mostly peaceful protests that began last year but later morphed into a civil war.
At least 20,000 Syrians have been killed in the conflict, according to anti-regime rights activists.