"When we talk about rebels who have arms to attack the Syrian people and its army, to destroy its public or private property – this is terrorism. Patriotism must be another natural aspect of the opposition, which the opposition formed in France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United States or the United Kingdom [cannot have]. The real Syrian opposition must be formed in Syria, and it exists. It is another issue how broad and strong it is," Assad told the Czech Television in an interview.
He also said that he was ready to resign should the Syrian people not vote for him in elections, but is not leaving the post yet.
"Of course, now, in the height of the war, I cannot say I am stepping down for any reason, otherwise I would be a traitor. But when the elections come, let the Syrian people make the decision. If they want to see me as the head of the country, I shall remain in my position with pleasure. If they don’t want me – I shall gladly resign. I do not have any issues with this," Assad said.
"The political process has two aspects – talks with the political opposition and the second is talks with those [armed] groups. In Syria we call this ‘the process of reconciliation’ – when they surrender their arms and return to the normal life, the government grants them amnesty," Assad told the Czech Television in an interview.
According to the president, the authorities will grant this amnesty to the members of the armed groups without any preconditions.
"No conditions. Full amnesty, they will not face any charges, [they can live] normal, calm and peaceful lives – don’t fight, don’t carry arms, don’t terrorize people," Assad added.