Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was sworn in for a third seven-year term Wednesday morning, The Associated Press reports.
President al-Assad, 48, called the Syrian people winners of a "dirty war" with outsiders, saying countries that supported the Syrian opposition "will pay a high price." His third term begins amid Syria's civil war, which is now in its fourth year and has killed more than 170,000 people, according to the AP. President al-Assad maintains that the civil war was caused by "terrorists," and his troops have made "steady advances" on rebels in the past year, the AP reports.
In a landslide victory last month, President al-Assad was re-elected with 88.7 percent of the vote, though opposition-held parts of Syria were excluded from the voting. The election was the country's first multi-candidate election in several decades.
"I swear by the Almighty God to respect the country's constitution, laws, and its republican system and to look after the interests of the people and their freedoms," President al-Assad said at the ceremony, which was broadcast live on Syrian state TV. He also pledged to continue fighting "terrorism" from rebels.