Assad warns of regional instability if regime falls

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned in comments broadcast Friday that the fall of his regime would produce a "domino effect" that would destabilise the region "for many years".

"The whole world knows that if Syria is partitioned, or if terrorist forces take control of the country, there will be direct contagion of the surrounding countries," he said in an interview with two Turkish media outlets.

"Then there would be a domino effect on countries perhaps far from the Middle East, to the west, east, north and south. This would mean instability for many years, even decades," he said.

Video of the interview, conducted earlier in the week, was posted on the Syrian presidency's Facebook page on Friday evening.

In excerpts posted earlier in the week, Assad lashed out at the Arab League and its decision to hand Syria's seat to the opposition.

"The Arab League lacks legitimacy. It's a League that represents the Arab states, not the Arab people, so it can't grant or retract legitimacy."

"Real legitimacy is not accorded by organisations or foreign officials or other country... legitimacy is that which is granted by the people," Assad said.

The interview, with Turkey's Ulusal television and Aydinlik newspaper, focused extensively on Syria's ties with Ankara, which has backed the two-year uprising against his regime.

In extracts published on Wednesday, Assad accused Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of not having said "a single word of truth since the beginning of the crisis in Syria."

Damascus has regularly accused Ankara of financing, training and arming rebels fighting troops loyal to Assad. The UN says Turkey currently hosts more than 260,000 Syrian refugees.

The UN says more than 70,000 people have been killed in a spiralling war that broke out in March 2011 after the army unleashed a crackdown on a peaceful revolt which morphed into an armed uprising.