Syrian President Bashar Assad with his army generals 311 (R).
(photo credit: Reuters)
Western powers risk causing an "earthquake" that would burn the Middle East if they intervened in Syria, President Bashar Assad said in an interview with Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper.
RELATED:Syrian forces kill 40, protesters demand int'l protection
"Syria is the hub now in this region. It is the fault line, and if you play with the ground you will cause an earthquake," he said. "Do you want to see another Afghanistan, or tens of Afghanistans?"
"Any problem in Syria will burn the whole region. If the plan is to
divide Syria, that is to divide the whole region," Assad said.
Assad's comments came as Arab ministers said on Friday they had sent an urgent message calling on him to end seven months
of violence against civilians following the killing of 40 pro-democracy
demonstrators by Syrian forces.
It was the Arab League's
strongest message on the relentless crackdown by Syrian forces, who on
Friday shot dead at least 40 protesters calling for international
protection for Syria's pro-democracy protesters, activists said.
The League's Arab Ministers Committee on the Syrian Crisis said it sent
an "urgent message ... to the Syrian government expressing its severe
discontent for the continued killing of Syrian civilians."
The Committee "expressed the hope that the Syrian government would take
action to protect civilians," the statement said. Arab ministers are due
to meet Syrian officials on Sunday in the Qatari capital of Doha.
The killings were mainly in the cities of Hama and Homs where men loyal
to Assad have raided homes in their efforts to stop protests and a
nascent armed insurgency against his autocratic rule.