Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

November 8, 2012

Syrian president says he will not leave country

(Continued)

He said Moscow would not support any resolution that would threaten the Syrian regime with sanctions. The remarks were posted on his ministry's website Thursday.

"If their priority is, figuratively speaking, Assad's head, the supporters of such approach must realize that the price for that will be lives of the Syrians, not their own lives," Lavrov said. "Bashar Assad isn't going anywhere and will never leave, no matter what they say. He can't be persuaded to take that step."

Assad has rarely appeared in public since the revolt began in March 2011. Last month, state TV showed him attending prayers for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha in Al-Afram Mosque in the Al-Muhajireen district of Damascus, sitting on the floor and praying.

In several televised speeches this year, Assad has blamed the uprising on a foreign plot to destroy Syria and accused rebels of being mercenaries of the West and Gulf countries Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The daily death toll in the civil war has been averaging 100 people or more recently, killed in clashes between rebels and troops, and in artillery shelling and regime airstrikes on rebel-held areas.

At least 104 people were killed in fighting on Wednesday, according to the Britain-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Most casualties — 31 people — were killed in the fighting between rebels and government troops in the suburbs of Damascus as the rebels made a new push into the capital, said Rami Abdul-Rahman, the Observatory's chief.

The Observatory said it has received reports of fresh fighting in the Damascus suburbs and in the neighborhood of Souseh in the capital on Thursday. It also said there were heavy clashes in northern Idlib province and in Aleppo, Syria's largest city which has been a major front in the civil war since the summer.

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