DAMASCUS, July 16 (Xinhua) -- The swearing-in ceremony of President Bashar al-Assad was held Wednesday and followed by an inauguration speech, in which Assad outlined the features of his third seven-year-term in office, basically continuing to fight terrorism, support national reconciliation and embark on reconstruction process.
The opening of the ceremony was announced by Parliament Speaker Jihad al-Laham, and followed by an honor guard review, during which Assad walked past the guard on a red carpet into the al-Sha' ab Palace in the capital Damascus on the beats of symphonic pieces and national anthem.
Upon arriving into the hall, Assad was greeted by heavy clapping of Syrian delegations covering all spectral of the Syrian society that attended the ceremony.
Assad then was invited by Laham to the podium to take the oath, swearing on the Islam's holy book, the Quran, to honor the country 's constitution and to look after the people's interests and freedoms.
Following the oath-taking routine, Assad announced his new administration will not stop fighting "terrorism" but will push forward the effort for national reconciliation and reconstruction.
"Since the first days of the aggression, we have decided to go on two parallel paths: striking terrorism without wavering and embarking on national reconciliations with those desirous of returning from the wrong path," he said, urging the rebels to abandon their rebellion against the government.
"I repeat my calls today to all those who have held weapons to lay their weapons down because we will not stop fighting terrorism and striking it wherever located until we restore peace to all spots in Syria."
Taking a swipe at the regional and Western backers of the rebellion in Syria, Assad said "soon we will see the Arab, regional and Western countries that supported the terrorism in Syria paying a steep price and a lot of them would later understand that the battles being fought by the Syrian people to defend their country would exceed the borders of the homeland to protect other peoples of the region whose countries would also suffer from the terrorism."
The Syrian government has long maintained that it has been fighting foreign-backed terrorists set to undermine the administration since the civil war broke out shortly after opposition protesters sought Assad's ouster in March 2011.
The conflict has since witnessed the death of over 100,000 people with millions of other Syrians displaced in neighboring countries.
Meanwhile, the president underscored the importance of the national dialogue, saying "it's a dialogue about the future of the homeland and the shape of the state in all domains."
But the dialogue Assad wants to promote is not inclusive of all Syrians. The president said it will exclude those groups that have been "non-national," a label used to describe the exiled opposition and the armed rebels, especially those that are supported by the Western and regional powers.
"The Syrian state had reached out to hold dialogue with everybody in the beginning, but now after this harsh national test, this dialogue would not include the powers that have proven to be non-national, those who have rejected to hold dialogue in the beginning, those who have placed their bets on the change of power balances and when these forces have lost their bets, they decided to change their stance and to go with the flow," he said.
The president also emphasized that reconstruction will also be one of the main goals of his new term, adding that the reconstruction process should start immediately, not to wait until the end of the crisis.
"Let's start rebuilding Syria hand in hand and prove that the will of the Syrians is stronger than the schemes of the terrorists, " he said.
"The reconstruction process is the economical title of the upcoming phase and we will all focus our efforts to rebuild other sectors that would be complementary to the reconstruction process, " he added.
Defending the June 3 presidential vote that was dismissed by the opposition and the Western powers as "farce," Assad said the presidential elections reflected Syria's independence and helped legitimize his administration, despite the fact that millions of displaced Syrians and those living in regions not under government control were unable to vote.
"The elections were our battles to defend the sovereignty, legitimacy and national decision of the people. The turnout was big and in the interest of the sovereignty in the face of the terrorism in all its shapes," he said.
The Syrian ruler won 88.7 percent of the votes in the June 3 vote that was the first multi-candidate poll in Syria's modern history, with two other candidates running for the top post alongside Assad.
The Syrian opposition and Western powers have dismissed the presidential poll as "shame" stressing only people in government- held territories were able to vote.
The Syrian administration has recently been buoyed by the victories of the Syrian army and their main ally, the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, whose fighters are battling alongside the regime forces against the various factions of rebels.
"The new stage has begun, and we are ready for it. Syria deserves all our efforts, sweat, and work, and we will not begrudge it anything, just as our heroes didn't begrudge it their blood and their lives. I will remain the person who belongs to you, living among you, finding guidance in your opinions and enlightenment in your awareness," Assad concluded.
DAMASCUS, July 16 (Xinhua) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad announced his new administration will not stop fighting "terrorism, " saying that regional and Western countries that have backed militants in Syria will pay a steep price. Full story