Thursday, 08 November 2012 17:14
DAMASCUS: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday rejected calls that he seek a safe exit, vowing he would "live and die in Syria", in an interview with Russian Arabic-language channel Rusiya Al-Yaum.
"I am not a puppet.... I am Syrian and I must live and die in Syria," Assad, who is facing a nearly 20-month revolt against his rule, told the channel according to transcripts published on its website.
British Prime Minister David Cameron this week floated the idea of granting Assad safe passage from the country, saying it "could be arranged" though he wanted the Syrian leader to face international justice.
Assad also warned against a foreign intervention to deal with Syria's escalating conflict, saying such a move would have "global consequences" and shake regional stability.
He said Syria was the "last bastion of secularism, stability and co-existence in the region" and that an intervention would have a "domino effect" that would affect "the world from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific."
"The price of a foreign invasion of Syria, if it were to take place, would be higher than the world can afford to pay," he said.
"I don't think the West is going in this direction, but if it does, nobody can predict what would happen."
Many in Syria's opposition, including armed rebels waging fierce battles with pro-regime forces, have urged the international community to intervene to stop escalating bloodshed in the country that rights groups say has left more than 37,000 people dead.
Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012