BERLIN - Syrian President Bashar Assad
said UN envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan to end 16 months of
bloodshed was being hindered by countries including Turkey and
Saudi Arabia providing support for "terrorists."
"We know that (Annan) is coming up against countless
obstacles but his plan should not be allowed to fail, it is a
very good plan," Assad told German television channel Das Erste
in an interview.
"The biggest obstacle is that many countries do not even
want this plan to succeed so they offer political support and
continue to provide the terrorists in Syria
with arms and
money," Assad said, according to a transcript in German of the
interview conducted in English on July 5 and scheduled for
broadcast later on Sunday.
Assad accused Saudi Arabia
of providing weapons to
the rebels and Turkey
of giving logistical help to smuggle in
supplies. The United States
offered political support, he added.
Annan arrived in Damascus
on Sunday for talks with Assad, a
day after admitting that his peace plan had so far failed to end
16 months of bloodshed.
Assad said most of victims during the conflict had been his
supporters, rather than his opponents on whom he has used
shelling and tank fire.
"The majority of them are people who support the government
and a big part of the rest are completely innocent people who
have been killed by different groups in Syria
," he said.
Among those groups were Al Qaeda and other extremist
Islamists, Assad said. His forces have captured dozens of al-Qaida fighters, some from Tunisia
, he added.
Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri
has urged Sunni Muslim
militants to join the fight against Assad, whose Shi'ite-rooted
minority Alawite sect dominates the army
and security forces.