Assad says he will not cut a deal to resign
Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has brushed aside suggestions that he resign and repeated his assertion that the West cannot afford to intervene in Syria because, he argued, it would have a domino effect across the world.
“We are the last stronghold of secularism and stability in the region and coexistence,” he told Russia Today in an interview due to be aired today.
He dismissed suggestions that he would resign in return for safe conduct out of Syria. “I am Syrian, I was made in Syria, I have to live in Syria and die in Syria,” he said in comments echoing similar remarks by the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gadafy.
President Assad’s statement coincided with a declaration by International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) president Peter Maurer that the humanitarian situation in Syria is worsening. While “the scope of the [ICRC] operation is increasing, we can’t cope. We have a lot of blank spots” where no aid has penetrated, he said.
Clashes between the army and rebels escalated in Damascus and two Turks were wounded by cross-border bullets fired during fighting in the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain. It is controlled by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, affiliated with Turkish Kurdish insurgents who may have clashed with gunmen from the Kurdish National Council, associated with the Syrian Arab opposition.
Meanwhile, in Qatar, the meeting of the expatriate Syrian National Council has been extended by factional wrangling. Female delegates protested when they were excluded from the council’s executive, which is considering the inclusion of two women, a Christian and an Alawite.
Several members were reported to have resigned from the council and the Local Coordination Committees, its key domestic component, is said to be preparing a letter of resignation.