VIENNA - A senior cleric from Syria's Christian minority said "everyone loves" President Bashar Assad and that he was still the best man to enact reforms, despite his military crackdown on pro-democracy unrest.
Yohana Ibrahim, the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo, told the Austrian newspaper Die Presse that most Christians supported both Assad and demands for democracy, but that killings by Assad supporters and opponents had to end.
"If he is willing to lead these (democratic) reforms, then he is the best man for this because he has the experience and has led the country for more than 10 years," Ibrahim was quoted as saying in an interview published on Friday.
"He is the president, everyone loves him. Not just Christians, the Muslims too. But that is not enough. We need good leadership for the future. Assad is one of the right people to attain the changes that are needed."