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Will 'live and die' in Syria, Assad vows

By The Associated Press

This article was published November 8, 2012 at 8:01 a.m.

— Syrian President Bashar Assad vowed to “live and die” in Syria, saying in an interview broadcast Thursday that he will never flee his country despite the bloody, 19-month-old uprising against him.

The broadcast comes two days after British Prime Minister David Cameron suggested that Assad could be allowed safe passage out of the country if that would guarantee an end to the nation’s civil war.

Assad struck a defiant tone in the interview with the English-language Russia Today TV.

“I am not a puppet, I was not made by the West for me to go to the West or any other country,” Assad, 47, said. He spoke in English and excerpts of the interview were posted on the TV station’s website Thursday, with an Arabic voiceover.

Assad also warned against foreign military intervention.

“I don’t think the West is headed in this direction, but if it does, nobody can predict the consequences,” he told the station. The full interview will be broadcast Friday, the TV station said.

Meanwhile, Syria’s civil war has been in a downward spiral since summer that makes it impossible for the Red Cross to cope with some of the country’s humanitarian needs, the Red Cross president said Thursday.

The civil war in Syria has killed more than 36,000 people and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes since an uprising against the Syrian regime began in March 2011.

Peter Maurer, the head of the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross, said that despite his organization’s improved scope of operations in the country, “we can’t cope with the worsening of the situation.”

“The seriousness of the crisis is deepening with every day and this trend has been uninterrupted since summer,” Maurer said.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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