The Syrian government must eliminate terrorists operating within the country to protect the civilian population, said Thursday night Syrian President Bashar Assad in an interview to an Iranian state television. "It is the duty of the Syrian government to protect all our citizens. We must eradicate terrorism in our entire country. Whoever kills a terrorist can save tens, hundreds or even thousands of lives, "said the Syrian leader.
Mr. Assad has granted an interview which lasted almost an hour against a backdrop of escalating tensions in the country and worsening relations between Damascus and Ankara following the shooting down of a Turkish aircraft by Syrian air defense forces.
On Saturday, Geneva hosts an international conference on Syria. The Russian FM Sergei Lavrov has stated the meeting should help launch a national dialogue in the country torn by a deadly confrontation.
For his part, the embattled Syrian President rejected any solution, which will be imposed on Syria from abroad. "A solution which is not Syrian is acceptable, whether proposed by the great powers or friendly countries. We are the only ones who know how to solve Syrian problems, "said Assad.