Syrian President Bashar Assad 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/SANA/Handout)
An Arab League deadline for Syria to end its repression of anti-government unrest
passed with no sign of violence abating, and Syrian President Bashar
Assad remained defiant in the face of growing international isolation.
said the crackdown in his country would continue in the face of
pressure from the Arab League to end it, according to an interview
published late on Saturday.
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"The conflict will continue and the pressure to subjugate Syria will continue," he told Britain's Sunday Times
newspaper. "Syria will not bow down."
Arab League had on Wednesday set a Saturday deadline for Syria to
comply with a peace plan which would entail a military pullout from
around restive areas, and threatened sanctions if Assad failed to end
However, activists from the Syrian Observatory for
Human Rights said 14 civilians were killed in security force raids on
Saturday while two army defectors died when they clashed with the Syrian
army in Homs, which has become a center of armed revolt against more
than 40 years of Assad family rule.
Assad has come under growing
international pressure to stop the crackdown and US Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton on Friday expressed fear the country could be slipping
into civil war.
Clinton said the international community was
reluctant to intervene as it had in Libya and Assad again repeated his
assertion that any Western military action taken against Syria would
create an "earthquake" across the Middle East.
"If they are logical, rational and realistic, they shouldn't do it
because the repercussions are very dire. Military intervention will
destabilize the region as a whole, and all countries will be affected,"
The Sunday Times
said Assad had promised to personally fight and die to resist foreign forces.
Assad also vowed to prevent further attacks by the Free Syrian Army,
which opposition sources said had killed or wounded at least 20 security
police in an assault on an Air Force Intelligence Complex near Damascus
two days ago.
"The only way is to search for the armed people, chase the armed gangs,
prevent the entry of arms and weapons from neighboring countries,
prevent sabotage and enforce law and order," he told the paper.