Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said his army has foiled Western attempts to overthrow his government thanks to assistance from allies including Russia, Iran, and Lebanon's Hezbollah movement.
"Their direct support -- politically, economically, and militarily -- has made possible bigger advances on the battlefield and reduced the losses and burdens of war," Assad said during a televised address on August 20.
He stressed, however, that "the battle continues" and that it was too early to speak of victory in the country's 6 1/2-year-old civil war.
Assad said there will be no restoration of diplomatic ties or other forms of cooperation with countries that support "terrorists" in Syria. The United States and most European countries shut their Damascus embassies following a government crackdown on protesters in 2011.
Assad also expressed support for a series of Moscow-brokered cease-fires, saying Damascus has "an interest in the success of this initiative."
At the same time, he criticized U.S. proposals for "safe zones," which U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this year hoped to develop in a joint initiative with Moscow.
Such zones, Assad said, would only "give cover to terrorists."
Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP