10:51 GMT +317 October 2019
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    The silhouette of a Syrian man is seen through an election campaign portrait of President Bashar al-Assad he hangs it on a billboard on May 11, 2014 in the capital Damascus.

    Assad: I Will Step Down if Syrians Want Me to Do So

    © AFP 2019 / JOSEPH EID
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    Syrian President Bashar Assad told the Yahoo News online outlet in an interview released Friday he would step aside as soon as Syrians wanted him to do so.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Syrian President's statement made amid the scandal errupted after the Amnesty International published a report, in which it accused the Syrian government of carrying out mass killings of up to 13,000 people in custody at Syria's Saydnaya military prison.

    ​Assad repulsed the accusations, saying that the human rights group's report was false and questioning the credibility of the organization.

    Syrian President Bashar Assad's response to 2015 accusations of prison detainee torture was that Damascus is ready for "unbiased and fair" way to verify the allegations. According to the Syrian leader, there is no verification of any alleged evidence that the Damascus authorities have been involved in the abuse of people in detention.

    During the Astana peace talks the Syrian armed opposition insisted on President Bashar Assad stepping down as part of a political settlement for the country's six-year conflict, but the issue was not put on the talks' agenda.

    While Russia and Iran maintain that the political landscape of the country should be shaped by the Syrian people, Western countries want Assad to resign.

    "Definitely, for me whenever Syrian people don’t want me to be in that position I would leave right away," Assad said.

    He also did not rule out holding early presidential elections if "the Syrian people think about early presidential elections or any kind of presidential elections."

    ​Earlier in the week, Assad also stated that Syria does not belong to his family and every citizen has the right to the presidency of the Arab republic.

    Tags:
    resignation, Bashar al-Assad, Syria
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