Syrian president Bashar Assad says it's still too early to say whether he'll run for re-election in next year's presidential vote, the Newser website reports today (October 4, 2013).
Assad says "the picture will be clearer" in the next four to five months because Syria is going through "rapid changes" on the ground. He spoke in an interview with Turkish television channel Halk TV, aired late last night.
Assad has been president of Syria since 2000; his second seven-year term ends in mid-2014. Syria's opposition wants him to step down and hand over power to a transitional government with full powers until new elections are held. He has adamantly refused to step down.
Despite Syria's ongoing civil war -- which has already resulted in more than 110,000 killings during the past two and one-half years -- Assad still enjoys wide support among minorities, including Christians and Alawites, members of the Shiite Islam sect.