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Defiant Assad vows to stay in power in Syria, but mentions dialogue

In an interview with an Egyptian newspaper, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that the rebels fighting to take down his regime will not prevail.

Clone of Syria bashar al assad damascus 2012 7 18Enlarge
A depiction of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on the country's national flag. (LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images)

In an interview with an Egyptian newspaper, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that the rebels fighting to take down his regime will not prevail.

The rebels "will not succeed," Assad reportedly said, according to the Associated Press. He also drew a contrast between the experience of Muammar Gaddafi's fallen regime in Libya and his own, saying the foreign military intervention that helped bring down Gaddafi will "not be repeated" in Syria, according to AAP.

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Sounding a different note, Assad also reportedly said that "dialogue with the opposition" was essential in order to halt the conflict.

That emphasis on dialogue runs counter to the message conveyed by recent events in Syria, in which government military forces have increased air strikes and other assaults that have killed scores of civilians and rebels alike.

Some 250 people were killed across the country on Thursday, according to a member of the UK-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. News of Assad's comments also coincided with reports of fresh violence in Aleppo, the BBC said.

Most opposition groups say they are not willing to negotiate with Assad's regime — they want him out of power, the Associated Press reported.

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Meanwhile, Turkey's Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told the Washington Post that Assad is "politically dead."

"This regime will go," he told the Post.

Iran continued to voice its unity with Assad, with a military official saying that “both Iran and Syria should join hands” to face "Israeli aggression," Al Arabiya reported.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/syria/120921/defiant-assad-vows-defeat-rebels-syria