- Assad said an intervention by the Western world would could end up like Afghanistan
- He claims that Syria is different from Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen
- The president admits that mistakes were made at the start of the uprisings but claims that only terrorists were being targeted
- He talks about why he is so popular with his people and says he even drives himself around
Syrian president Bashar Assad has warned Western intervention against his regime would cause an ‘earthquake’ that would ‘burn the whole region’.
President Assad said the action could lead to ‘another Afghanistan’.
His comments came after hundreds of people marched to the Syrian embassy in London to show solidarity with those suffering from his crackdown in the Middle Eastern country.
At least three people were killed when a district in the city of Homs was shelled yesterday, a day after security forces reportedly killed about 40 people in a bid to suppress the uprising.
In his interview, President Assad conceded that western powers would ‘ratchet up the pressure’ but said his country was different ‘in every respect’ from Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen, where other uprisings had taken place.
He told the Sunday Telegraph: ‘Syria is the hub now in this region. It is the fault line and if you play with the ground you will cause an earthquake…
‘Do you want to see another Afghanistan, or tens of Afghanistans?’
‘Any problem in Syria will burn the whole region. If the plan is to divide Syria, that is to divide the whole region.’
He said “many mistakes” had been made by his forces at the start of the uprising, but said only ‘terrorists’ were being targeted now.
President Assad insisted his response to the Arab Spring was not one of ‘stubborn government’, adding: ‘Six days after (the protests began) I commenced reform.’
He insisted the pace of form was ‘not too slow’, saying: ‘The vision needs to be mature.’
The United Nations estimates the regime crackdown has killed 3,000 people in the country since March.
The recent violence sparked strong criticism from the Arab League, which issued a statement expressing disgust at Friday’s killings.