Iraq's Maliki: Assad could hold on for years

By REUTERS
February 9, 2013 13:36

 
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RIYADH - Syrian President Bashar Assad could survive two more years of revolt despite US expectations of a more imminent fall, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was quoted as saying on Saturday.

Maliki, a Shi'ite Muslim, is seen as close to Assad's main ally Iran, but has been careful not to express support for either the Syrian leader, fighting a rebellion since early 2011, or the predominantly Sunni opposition.

In an interview in Cairo with the Saudi-owned, London-based Asharq al-Awsat, Maliki said US President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton had told him Assad would fall "within two months."

He did not say when he had spoken to them.

Maliki said Assad would not fall "even after two years."

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