Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to win his country’s long-running civil war while acknowledging his troops are struggling to maintain control over territory amid lack of manpower. Aljazeera reports:
In a televised speech on Sunday before local dignitaries in Damascus, the embattled president tried to justify why the Syrian army has given up some areas of Syria, including the northwestern city of Idlib. He said it was due to military priorities.
“It was necessary to specify critical areas for our armed forces to hang on to. Concern for our soldiers forces us to let go of some areas,” he said. “Every inch of Syria is precious,” he added.
Syria’s army once had around 300,000 members, but it has been significantly reduced in size by deaths, defections, and a rise in draft dodging. “There is a lack of human resources” in the army, Assad said. “But that doesn’t mean we can talk about collapse,” he added. “We will resist… The armed forces are capable of defending the motherland.”