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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has vowed, in a recent interview, to ‘live and die’ in Syria. He refuses to flee his country despite the bloody, 19-month-old uprising against him.
The broadcast comes two days after British Prime Minister David Cameron mentioned that a safe exit and foreign exile for the London-educated Assad could end the civil war.
Assad was defiant in the interview with Russia Today TV that was broadcast on Thursday.
“I am not a puppet, I was not made by the West for me to go to the West or any other country,” Assad said.
Assad also warned against foreign military intervention.
“I don’t think the West is headed in this direction, but if it does, nobody can predict the consequences,” he told the station.
The United States and its allies have wanted the Syrian leader out of the country, but have refused to arm his opponents or enforcing a no-fly zone, and are not planning on invading. Russia has been on Assad’s side during this time.
The president said he doubted the West would risk the global cost of intervening in Syria, because the conflict has already added to the large instability in the Middle East and killed around 38,000 people.
“I think that the price of this invasion, if it happened, is going to be bigger than the whole world can afford … It will have a domino effect that will affect the world from the Atlantic to the Pacific,” Assad said.
The uprising began mostly peaceful against Assad’s regime back in March of last year and quickly morphed into a civil war.
“If their priority is, figuratively speaking, Assad’s head, the supporters of such approach must realize that the price for that will be lives of the Syrians, not their own lives. Bashar Assad isn’t going anywhere and will never leave, no matter what they say. He can’t be persuaded to take that step,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.