In his first public address in a year, embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad vowed Sunday to win his country’s long-running civil war while acknowledging his troops had lost territory to rebel forces and were running short on manpower.
Assad’s speech, while confident, came in the fifth year of a conflict pitting his forces against rebels, Islamist insurgents and the extremist Islamic State group. Turkey, which has long backed the rebels, has begun striking the IS group and Kurdish fighters battling the extremists, adding a new layer of complexity to a brutal war with no end in sight.
Assad’s televised speech Sunday morning, given to local dignitaries in the Syrian capital, Damascus, was his first public address since he was sworn in for a third, seven-year term in July last year. Assad has given interviews to several Arab and international media outlets in the meantime. […]