Washington and other Western powers have warned of imminent military strikes against Assad's regime following a suspected chemical weapons attack that killed civilians, including dozens of children, in Damascus suburbs on August 21.
"Since the start of the crisis, as you know, we have waited for our true enemy to reveal itself," Al-Akhbar newspaper quoted Assad as telling Syrian officials."I know that your morale is good and that you are ready to face any attack and to save the homeland," he added.
"It's a historic confrontation from which we will emerge victorious," the paper quoted the embattled Syrian president as saying.
Damascus preparing for Western military strike: people flee country, military commands relocated
While it seems that the only issue left to be settled by Western leaders is the timing of the military strike on Syria, people in Damascus are preparing. Syrians prefer to stay inside their homes or flee for neighboring Lebanon. The military are being evacuated.
Damascus is a city with more than 1.7 million residents. But the streets are quiet nowadays, western reporters tell, as the Syrian capital is preparing for a US-led military response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government last week.
More than 5,000 Syrians have reportedly left the country for the neighboring Lebanon since Wednesday, following 9,000 who left earlier on Tuesday. Estimates say that almost 2 million Syrians have been displaced out of Syria since the onset of the conflict.
Those who have remianed are trying to remain calm, despite knowing they are in a most vulnerable position.
"We live in the capital. Every turn, every street, every neighborhood has some government target. Where do we hide?" RT is citing a resident as telling.
Long breadlines are seen in the streets. People are buying food and water that would certainly be in high demand in case the assault starts.
According to Syrian rebels, the army and security command headquarters are being evacuated. According to Reuters reports, citing a Free Syrian Army source, the General Staff Command Building, the air force command as well as the security compounds in the Western Kfar Souseh districts of the capital have been partially evacuated.
"Before the threat (of a Western strike) they have been taking precautions by working more from lower floors. In the last 48 hours they have been vacated," a commander in the Ansar al-Islam rebel brigade in Damascus, Abu Ayham, told reporters.
Rebel activists have also reported convoys leaving the headquarters of the army’s elite 4th Armored Division.
Meanwhile, Assad supporters are trying to boost morale, driving through pro-government areas of Damascus playing patriotic songs.
According to the Washington Post, pro-government web-sites are urging people to stage sit-ins near potential targets and act as a "human shield".