Assad says the war is turning in his favor

Assad’s allies have portrayed him as confident and in control and they expect him to run for and win a presidential election in July – a turnaround from last year when he looked on the verge of defeat as rebels advanced towards Damascus, struck in the heart of the capital and took control of key areas.

Addressing graduate students and staff of the political science department in Damascus University: “(Assad) pointed out that there is a turning point in the crisis in Syria in terms of the continuous military achievements … by the army and armed forces in the war against terror and in … terms of national reconciliation,” state news agency SANA reported.

In recent months, government forces, backed by Lebanon’s Shi’ite Muslim Hezbollah fighters, recaptured several rebel-held areas and border towns, closing off rebel supply routes from Lebanon and securing the main highway leading north from Damascus towards central Syria, Homs and the Mediterranean…

Assad is preparing to run for a third term in an election expected in July which international powers that back the rebels have described as a “parody of democracy”.