Syria president Assad sworn in for third term, faces challenges

World Today

Syrian President Bashar Assad was sworn in for a third seven-year term Wednesday, but he still faces many challenges with the fighting and unrest shrouding the country.

Eliminating extremism from the country remains a difficult task for the government, according to Syrian political analyst Anas Judah.

“The government forces remain the largest force in the country, but this does not mean that they are capable of controlling every place,” Judah said. “Even if the Syrian government reaches agreements with some mild rebel groups, it will still be hard to defeat terrorism, even with the help of organized military actions and international cooperation.”

Assad will also need to win the trust of residents in Damascus, some of whom have expressed mixed feelings towards their president and their country’s future.

“Of course, our life and work before the crisis were very good. But the crisis has pushed us back 100 years from economic and social aspects. In my opinion, I will not blindly worship Bashar. I just consider the facts, and the current situation is really bad,” said one resident.

“It will be better, it will. The situation will be safe in the future,” said another.

Assad won last month’s presidential election, but Syrian opposition groups and Western powers have dismissed the poll as a “farce,” saying it was only held in central and northern areas of Syria that are under state control.

Supported by Russia and Iran, Assad has defied calls from Western states for him to step aside since the conflict started in 2011 with protests against his rule. He took power after his father died in 2000.

The Syrian government has long maintained that it has been fighting foreign-backed terrorists aiming to undermine the administration since the civil war broke out shortly after opposition protesters sought Assad’s ouster in March 2011.

More than 100,000 have died and millions of Syrians have been displaced to neighboring countries since the conflict began.

A version of this story originally appeared on CCTV NewsContent