DUBAI - Syria President Bashar Assad vetoed demands by senior leaders to pursue a peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria after some of his top security aides were killed in an attack in July, his former prime minister said in remarks broadcast on Tuesday.

Riyad Hijab, who defected in early August, told Al Arabiya television that the death of Defense Minister Daoud Rajha and his deputy, Assad's brother-in-law Assef Shawkat, in a bomb attack on a security meeting in Damascus had persuaded him that there was no military solution to the crisis.

He said he met with other top officials, including Vice President Farouq al-Shara, the heads of parliament and the deputy secretary general of the ruling Ba'ath Party, and agreed to ask Assad to start talks with the opposition.

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