Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has rejected calls that he seek a safe exit from the country, vowing he would “live in Syria and die in Syria,” and warned against a foreign intervention.
“I am not a puppet. I was not made by the West to go to the West or to any other country,” al-Assad said in English in an interview with Russian broadcaster RT television.
“I am Syrian, I was made in Syria, I have to live in Syria and die in Syria,” he said, according to transcripts posted on RT’s website. British Prime Minister David Cameron suggested on Nov. 6 granting al-Assad safe passage from the country, saying it “could be arranged,” although he wanted the Syrian leader to face international justice.
Al-Assad also warned against a foreign intervention in Syria’s escalating conflict, saying such a move would have global consequences and shake regional stability. “We are the last stronghold of secularism and stability in the region… it will have a domino effect that will affect the world from the Atlantic to the Pacific,” the transcript said.
In a separate video extract of the interview, al-Assad added, “The price of this invasion, if it happens, is going to be big – more than the whole world can afford.”
On the ground, fighting continues, with mounting violence in Damascus seeing rebels again clashing with troops and as the Red Cross says it is struggling to cope with the worsening humanitarian crisis. Fresh fighting broke out overnight Nov. 8 in the southern neighborhood of Qadam and the western region of Mazzeh, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists and medics on the ground. In recent days, rebels have stepped up their attacks on al-Assad’s power base in the capital.
In Geneva, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it could not keep pace with the needs of civilians caught up in Syria’s worsening civil war.
Peter Maurer, ICRC president, said the organization, which has up to 30 foreign aid workers in Syria, tried to exploit “cracks” in shifting combat frontlines to deliver aid to hotspots, as it had managed to do in Homs on the weekend. But he acknowledged that many civilians in need remained out of reach. “We have a lot of blank spots, we know that no aid has been there and I can’t tell you what the situation is,” he said.
“The humanitarian situation due to the conflict is getting worse. And despite the fact that the scope of the operation is increasing, we can’t cope with the worsening of the situation,” Maurer told a news briefing.