Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview to Russian-based TV network RT, stating that he has no intention of leaving his country and warned against Western intervention in its civil war. Speaking in English, Assad says that "the cost of a foreign invasion of Syria—if it happens—would be bigger than the entire world can bear." He added that Syria is "last stronghold of secularism and stability in region" and the consequences of bringing down his regime would be felt "from the Atlantic to the Pacific."
The not so-subtle threat comes at a time of increased pressure on nations like the United States and United Kingdom to put an end to the 20-month conflict that has killed tens of thousands of Syrians and spilled over into neighboring countries. British Prime Minister David Cameron is visiting refugee camps in the region this week and said that he would push President Obama—who is now free of the pressure of re-election—to make Syria a higher priority and possibly lift arms embargoes in order to boost the rebel forces. More than 100 people die in Syria every day now, on average, and the president of the Red Cross says they can no longer cope with the humanitarian situation.
Yet, through all that, Assad insists he won't give up the fight or his country. Rejecting the idea that he might accept asylum in another nation in order to end the war, Assad said, "I am Syrian, I am Syrian-made, and I must live and die in Syria." RT.com will broadcast the full interview on Friday.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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