Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has delivered a rare TV speech at the Nobles Palace in Damascus on Sunday. Below is a summarized transcript of the speech.
"We meet today while entire Syria is struggling, there is no place of safety and joy left in the country. Many parents have lost their children, many children became orphans. Siblings have been separated, there are many martyrs, refugees and missing people. But hope will be born from out pain, and the best solutions often come from the deepest tragedies.
Only national dialogue will solve this crisis which is bigger than anything we have ever experienced before. This conflict is between our nation and the conspiracy, between the people and the criminal killers.
The terrorists cut off power, food and fuel supplies from civilians. They left the people starving for bread. They destroyed the infrastructure, they destroyed the schools. They are the enemies of the people and the enemies of God. This is a fight between the people looking for food, water, a living, and those preventing them from this.
The country is ours and we defend it collectively. This so-called revolution is fake and illegitimate. Those people are not revolutionaries, they are a bunch of criminals. Revolutions need leaders, who is the leader of this alleged revolution? A revolution is made for the people, not against them. Revolutions are based on knowledge and thoughts; who is a thinker in this so-called revolution?
These criminals speak no language but the language of slaughter and murder. Those people who call themselves revolutionaries and are in fact takfiri jihadis. Those are the people we are fighting. We are fighting foreign aggression.
There is a regional plan to divide and weaken Syria by supporting the terrorists. The enemy calls it a revolution, but it has nothing to do with revolution. Those people are backed by Al-Qaeda. But the Syrian people are stronger than the terrorists, they have promised them they will not succeed. We promised we will never give in, and this is what makes the foreigners hate us. The West wants us to surrender but Syria will never surrender.
Many countries, however, refuse to get involved in the crisis in Syria, like Russia, Iran and China; and we thank these countries. Their values are the reason they are standing with us.
Syria is in a state of war. Such war can only be faced by unity and reforms. Reforms without security are like security without reforms. So a political solution doesn't mean we won't defend ourselves. I protect the nation, this is my duty to God and my duty to the people. We have been forced to be proud and steadfast, and this is how we will remain.
We always wanted political dialogue, but we did not find a partner for dialogue. We are ready to open dialogue, but not with proxies. We never rejected a political solution but the West has blocked any dialogue. Let me compare this to marriage; if someone wants to get married but can't find the right person, that doesn't mean he doesn't want to get married. We are willing to talk to parties and individuals who did not sell their country to strangers, and who are willing to put down the arms.
Syria's victory will be the political end of our enemies. The situation in Homs and Daraa has improved following our initiatives in the cities. There should be a comprehensive solution as partial solutions won't prevail.
Solution to Syria has several stages. The first stage is to stop the funding of terrorist groups by foreign countries. The second stage involves sealing porous to prevent terrorists from entering country, and it will start by a general dialogue, a new constitution, and a referendum. Regional powers should stop aiding and financing the armed groups and we will then ceasefire. The third step involves forgiveness and amnesty. Through national reconciliation, the amnesty is possible. All these plans do not mean an end to the anti-terrorism operations. Anti-terrorism will continue.
We live in times of falsehood and manipulation, in an era of fabrication.
The homeland is for everyone. Everyone defends it, each by his own way. The attack is on all the country. We don't need political help from abroad. Every change must come from within the constitutional parameters. Syria is open to advise but not dictation. Any initiative we take will be based on the nation's sovereignty and the people's will only. The Syrians are forgiving but they will not give up their dignity.
We will continue to support the resistance in Palestine. Golan is ours, Palestine is our cause, and we'll continue to support the resistance. Any attempt to involve the Palestinians in the conflict is a deviation from the real enemy.
The so-called Arab Spring is a soap bubble that will burst and disappear in the near future. Our martyr's blood has exposed the fake Arab Spring.
I praise the villages that fought against the terrorists who wanted to enter Syria from Turkey. I salute who deserve the best salute in the Syrian Army. Glory to each soldier who died while protecting the nation's land.
I was born here, and I will die here, in Syria. I am one of the people. Positions don't last forever, but the country will last forever. I grief for the loss of loved ones just like you. After this Syria will be stronger than ever. Strength runs in our blood. We fear nothing but God and he is always right."