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Assad Vows To 'Live And Die' In Syria
Syrian President Bashar al Assad has told Russian TV he will "live and die in Syria".
Earlier this week, Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron suggested that Mr Assad could be allowed safe passage out of the country if it would guarantee an end to the nation's civil war.
But appearing on the Russian Arabic-language channel Rusiya al Yaum, Mr Assad said he was not a puppet of the West. "I am Syrian, made in Syria, and I will live and die in Syria," he said.
"I think that the cost of a foreign invasion of Syria - if it happens - would be bigger than the entire world can bear ... this will have a domino effect that will affect the world from the Atlantic to the Pacific," he said.
"I do not believe the West is heading in this direction, but if they do, nobody can tell what will happen afterwards," he said.
Excerpts of the interview were posted on the TV station's website with an Arabic voiceover.
The Syrian president is seen casually talking and later walking with a reporter outside a house, wearing a grey suit and tie. It was not clear where the interview took place. The full interview will be broadcast on Friday, the TV station said.
Russia has remained one of Syria's most loyal and powerful allies, shielding Damascus from strong international action at the United Nations Security Council.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in remarks posted on his ministry's website on Thursday that Moscow would not support any resolution that would threaten the Syrian regime with sanctions.
He criticised the West for supporting the opposition, saying foreign powers should try to force both sides to stop fighting.
:: The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Thursday that humanitarian conditions in Syria have worsened to an extent that the agency is unable to cope with the growing needs of civilians.