Damascus: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Friday said he will not run in next year's presidential elections if his countrymen do not welcome the move.
“If the Syrian people don't want me, I won't stand for office," Assad said in an interview with Turkey's Halk TV channel.
It was still too early to take such a decision, however, said Assad, whose forces are mired in a devastating 30-month-old conflict with rebels seeking to overthrow the government.
"The situation should become clearer in the next four or five months because there are rapid changes taking place on the ground," he stated.
Syria's presidential polls are due in mid-2014. Assad has been president since 2000.