DUBAI - Syria's President Bashar Assad enjoys the support of his people and can continue to count on his ally Iran as he battles an armed rebellion in his country, a senior Iranian official was quoted as saying on Sunday.
Iran has steadfastly supported Assad in his 17-month-long bid to hold onto power against armed Syrian rebels, accusing regional powers including Turkey and Qatar and the West of fomenting unrest in Syria because of its opposition to Israel.
Saeed Jalili, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council and a representative of Iran's ultimate authority, Supreme Leader Ali Khomeini, said on Sunday that Syria was a "strong fortress of resistance" against the West and Israel and was thus being targeted for overthrow.
"How could Assad have lasted this long? Isn't it because he's leaning on popular support?," Jalili was quoted as saying by Iran's Mehr News Agency.