World Bulletin / News Desk
Syrian President Bashar al Assad told Iranian state television on Thursday a solution imposed on Syria from outside was unacceptable because only Syrians could resolve the country's crisis.
"No non-Syrian model is acceptable because no one but us knows how to solve the problem," Assad said during the rare hour-long interview.
Referring to strained relations with Turkey following the Syria's shooting down of one of its military fighter planes, Assad said there was a difference between the stance of Turkish officials and the positive view of Turkish people towards Syria.
His one-hour interview coincided with a sharp escalation of violence inside Syria and a flurry of diplomatic activity ahead of a planned meeting in Geneva that will try to end the bloodshed.
Diplomats said the talks - involving U.N. Security Council members and key regional countries - would focus on a proposed transition plan to pave the way for a unity government.
"The responsibility of the Syrian government is to protect all of our residents. You have a responsibility to annihilate terrorists in any corner of the country," Assad told Iranian state television.
"When you eliminate a terrorist, it's possible that you are saving the lives of tens, hundreds, or even thousands," he said, referring to last month's massacre in the village of Houla in which more than 100 people, including women and children, were killed.
Battling to crush a 16-month uprising against his rule, the 46-year-old Alawite leader demanded international observers speak out more about the "terrorist operations" they witnessed.
He also firmly rejected any solution imposed from outside the country, emphasising his own commitment to reform instead.
"We will not accept any non-Syrian, non-national model, whether it comes from big countries or friendly countries. No one knows how to solve Syria's problems as well as we do," he said.
"We are moving forward with political reforms. But for terrorists and the governments that support them, reforms have no meaning."
Assad accused Syria's foes of trying to interfere in his country's internal affairs with U.N. resolutions and by bringing about the failure of Kofi Annan's peace plan.
But he said he did not believe the crisis would result in military action in Syria.
What happened in Libya was "not a solution to be copied because it took Libya from one situation into a much worse one. We all now see how the Libyan people are paying the price," he said.
He had harsh words too for Syria's neighbour Turkey, relations with which have worsened following the shooting down of one of its military planes by Syrian forces last Friday.
"The policies of the Turkish officials lead to the killing and bloodshed of the Syrian people," said Assad.
While the United States and its allies have called for Assad to step aside to help bring an end to the bloodshed, allies Iran and Russia have continued to support the Syrian leader and criticised what they say is foreign interference in the country.
Turkey, in pursuit of a joint act to create a safety zone in northern Syria for refugees, seems to be enforcing its plan on its own
The bill sets a 4-month timeframe for approving an application for building a church
Up to 230 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since October
Last week, the Tobruk-based parliament refused to back the UN-backed unity government
UN request for immunity for its former employee is rejected by Israel
Successive rounds of international negotiations have failed to end the Syria conflict, which has killed more than 290,000 people and forced millions to flee their homes.
Under the SDF name, the PYD has been enlarging its influence since December 2015 on the pretext of fighting Daesh
The planned cable car will make a stop in East Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood
EU affairs minister says capture of Jarabulus from ISIL preserves global security
Kerry arrived in Saudi Arabia Wednesday for talks on the Yemeni conflict
Syria's Foreign Ministry has said the Turkish tanks crossed the border is a "violation of our sovereignty"
Binali Yildirim says Syrian opposition forces are now in Jarabulus and taking control of villages around town
Turkish tanks surge ahead in Operation Euphrates Shield
In echoes of the Vietnam war a joint UN, OPCW report determines use of mustard gas, chlorine in Syria