The Syrian president has acknowledged that his regime is suffering military defeats, amid reports of splits and defections within his core supporters.
In a speech in Damascus on Wednesday, Bashar al-Assad for the first time replaced his “victory” rhetoric with a more sober assessment of the four-year war that has claimed more than 200,000 lives.
“Today we are fighting a war, not a battle. War is not one battle, but a series of many battles,” he said at his rare public appearance. “It is the nature of battles there will be advances and retreats, victories and losses, ups and downs.”