Syrian President Bashar Al Assad says he is more determined than ever to fight ISIS following US airstrikes on Friday.
In a call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday, Al Assad said “this attack has made our resolve to fight and crush terrorism on every inch of Syrian territory all that much stronger.”
Independent.co.uk reports: He was speaking hours after the US, France and the UK carried out missile attacks in response to his alleged use of chemical weapons in the city of Douma.
Assad said he would not change his course of fighting “terrorists in every inch of the nation”, according to the Reuters news agency.
Earlier, the Syrian government had posted a video online appearing to show the president arriving for work in the capital Damascus.
Footage shows Assad wearing suit and tie and carrying a briefcase as he walks into a marble-floored building.
It was captioned “the morning of resilience” and circulated on the presidency’s social media feeds.
The show of defiance came as hundreds of Syrians gathered in squares across the capital in support of the regime.
Men and women waving Syrian flags – as well as those of allies Russia and Iran – were seen in film captured by the AP news agency.
In scenes which appear to have an almost carnival-like atmosphere, posters of Assad are waved, car horns are honked and victory signs are flashed by government supporters.
“We are not scared of the American missiles, we humiliated its missiles, we are in the streets, in the squares, we are not in shelters,” says one protestor Mahmoud Ibrahim. “They laughed on them.”
Another, Abdulhamid Salhab said the one-hour bombing – which included use of Britain’s bunker-busting Storm Shadow cruise missiles – would “not affect the steadfast of the Syrian Arab people and will not affect the morale of the brave Syrian Arab Army.”
A few hours earlier loud explosions jolted Damascus and the sky turned orange as Syrian air defence units fired surface-to-air missiles in response to three waves of military strikes meant to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad for his alleged use of chemical weapons last week.
The western allies said the strikes were precision hits aimed specifically at destroying the regime’s chemical weapon facilities.
But Syria claims 71 out of the 103 missiles were shot out the sky. Shortly after the attack ended, vehicles with loudspeakers drove around the streets of Damascus blaring nationalist songs.