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Assad Insists on Never Leaving Syria
November 8, 2012

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Despite renewed pressure to leave, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remains defiant in his desire to remain as leader of his country.

Assad, in an interview with Russia Today TV, reaffirmed his vow not to agree to any sort of exit strategy for him. Assad has appeared in public infrequently during the 20-month uprising, with his appearances mainly consigned to speeches blaming outside influence for the uprising.

British Prime Minister David Cameron again brought up the possibility of Assad's exit in an international broadcast recently. Cameron voiced the strategy as part of what could be a peace settlement. The main Syrian opposition groups have insisted that they will not be a part of any postwar government that includes Assad, while Assad insists that he is the rightful ruler of his country and that it can solve its own problems, without interference, especially from Western nations.

Cameron, on a trip to Jordan to visit Syrian refugees, announced that the United Kingdom would deal directly with Syrian rebel military leaders and called on U.S. President Barack Obama to do the same.

Cameron's call comes against the backdrop of an international meeting taking place in Qatar with the express purpose of forming a more cohesive strategy for opposition to Assad, both politically and militarily. Attending the meeting are Nabil Elaraby, head of the Arab League, the foreign ministers of Qatar and Turkey, and Western diplomats.

Among proposals up for consideration are a plan by Syrian dissident Riad Seif for a reorganization of the current political opposition to include more voice than just the Syrian National Council, the large exile group that up to now has been the main voice speaking out against Assad. The main focus of the new group would be incorporating leaders from the armed opposition groups now pressing the case militarily against Assad's forces.

Meanwhile, on the ground in Syria, the civil war goes on, with reports of fresh fighting in Damascus, Aleppo, Idlib, and other cities, including some along the Syria-Turkey border. The daily death toll is thought to have risen above 100, and human rights groups estimate that the overall death toll has topped 38,000.




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