Q. How will history remember you, President Assad? A. It depends who's writing it

'If it is the West, it will give me all the bad attributes'

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The Independent Online

How history will remember Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "depends on who will write the history", according to the President himself. 

President Assad has recently vowed to retake the whole of Syria by force, which he said will "take a long time and will incur a heavy price".

In an interview with the Agence France-Presse news agency, President Assad was asked: "How do you think you will figure in history: as a man who saved Syria or a man who destroyed it?"

"This depends on who will write the history," he said. "If it is the West, it will give me all the bad attributes.

"What's important is how I think. Certainly, and self-evidently, I will seek, and that is what I am doing now, to protect Syria, not to protect the chair I'm sitting on."

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When asked how many years he would need to restore peace to Syria, President Assad lashed out at Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the West.

"The question is: for how many years will Turkey and Saudi Arabia continue to support terrorism? That is the question. And when will the West put pressure on these countries to stop supporting terrorism?"

President Assad has repeatedly styled his opponents as "terrorists", although Syrian forces have mainly been fighting anti-government rebels including the Free Syrian Army, who were initially supported and trained by the US.

Syrian regime forces are backed by Russian air support, Iranian advisers and Lebanese Hezbollah militia. 

The West considers President Assad's resignation as one of the key ways to stop the Syrian war.

David Cameron repeatedly said the Syrian President has no place in the country's future and has called for a peaceful transition to a new government, in line with Barack Obama, Francois Hollande and other leaders in the US-led international coalition. 

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister said President Assad "will either leave by a political process or he will be removed by force".

More than 250,000 people have been killed and around 11 million displaced in almost five years of fighting in Syria, which partly sparked the European refugee crisis and empowered Isis militants.