Syria: Assad promises to 'annihilate' terrorist threat
As tanks mass on the border with Turkey, Syria's leader rejects any external measures to bring peace
SYRIAN president Bashar Assad has vowed to "annihilate terrorists" who threaten the security of his country in an interview with Iranian TV, Reuters reports. In an hour-long interview, Assad also dashed hopes of a diplomatic resolution to the crisis as he ruled out accepting any measures imposed on Syria from outside the Middle Eastern country.
"The responsibility of the Syrian government is to protect all of our residents. You have a responsibility to annihilate terrorists in any corner of the country," Assad said. "When you eliminate a terrorist, it's possible that you are saving the lives of tens, hundreds, or even thousands." He went on to reject outside intervention in the 16-month uprising.
"We will not accept any non-Syrian, non-national model, whether it comes from big countries or friendly countries. No one knows how to solve Syria's problems as well as we do," he said. "We are moving forward with political reforms. But for terrorists and the governments that support them, reforms have no meaning."
Assad's uncompromising stance would seem to doom Kofi Annan's Action Group for Syria and its attempts to broker a peace in the country. The UN-Arab League envoy and his team are meeting in Geneva today to consider a proposal for the transition between Assad's regime and a new government, a copy of which was leaked last night to the UN Report website.
The 'Non-Paper Guide-lines and Principles for a Syrian-led Transition' aims for a "political" solution that would result in a "genuinely democratic and pluralistic" state. But in looking to "exclude from government those whose continued presence and participation would undermine the transition and jeopardise stability and reconciliation" it looks like a non-starter.
And any hope of a peaceful situation could come to naught if reports from Reuters of Syrian tanks massing on the border with Turkey are anything to go by. The news agency reports a commander from the Free Syrian Army saying that "they're either preparing to move to the
border to counter the Turkish deployment or attack the rebellious (Syrian) towns and villages in and around the border zone north of Aleppo."