Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview to Britain’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper that Western powers risk causing an “earthquake” that would burn the Middle East if they intervened in Syrian affairs.
Assad’s warning came ahead of his talks with the Arab League aimed at starting a dialogue between the government and opposition to end the violence which has escalated across the country.
He has drawn a repeated condemnation from the United Nations, Arab League and Western governments for the mounting violence in which he has attempted to crush a seven-month uprising against his rule.
Assad said in the interview that Western countries “are going to ratchet up the pressure, definitely but tried to explain that Syria was different in every respect from Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen.
The U.N. estimates that 3,000 people, including nearly 200 children, have been killed since the uprising erupted in March. Syrian authorities have blamed the violence on militant groups to have killed 1,100 soldiers and police officers.
Meanwhile, Syria has band most international media to report from inside the country, making it hard to verify accounts from activists and authorities.
The determination of protesters, the regidness of authorities and the emerging armed insurgency have combined to make Syria's turmoil one of the most bloodiest of this year's Arab uprisings.