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President Assad: WEST WILL PAY A HIGH PRICE


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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said that the West will pay a high price for what he described as its support for al-Qaeda in his country's conflict.

In a TV interview with Al-Ikhbariya , Mr Assad compared the situation to US support for Islamists in Afghanistan leading to the rise of the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Syria's rebel al-Nusra Front recently pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and is on a US terror blacklist.

The group has emerged as an effective anti-government force.

It first appeared in January 2012 and is the best known of the militant Islamist groups involved in the fighting.

It has claimed to be behind most of the suicide bombings during the conflict.

The interview - aired on the state al-Ikhbariya TV channel - comes on Syria's independence day, marking the end of French rule in 1946.

Mr Assad alluded to the aid provided by the US to the Afghan mujahideen in 1980s during their war against the Soviet occupation, seen as one of the roots of jihadism.

"The West has paid heavily for funding al-Qaeda in its early stages. Today it is doing the same in Syria, Libya and other places, and will pay a heavy price in the heart of Europe and the United States," Mr Assad said.

He said that his own defeat would be catastrophic.

"There is no option but victory, otherwise it will be the end of Syria and I don't think that the Syrian people will accept such an option," he said.

"The truth is there is a war and I repeat: no to surrender, no to submission."

Only the Syrian people could decide whether he should stay or go, he added.

In the interview, Mr Assad also accused Jordan of allowing rebels free movement across its borders and said the conflict could spread.

"I cannot believe that hundreds [of Mujahidin ] are entering Syria with their weapons while Jordan is capable of arresting any single person with a light weapon for going to resist in Occupied Palestine," he said.

"The fire will not stop at our border and everybody knows that Jordan is exposed as Syria is."

Assad also launched his strongest criticism yet of neighboring Jordan for allowing thousands of fighters to cross the border to join a conflict he insisted his forces would win and save Syria from destruction.

He said Syria had sent a security envoy to Amman in recent weeks to inquire about the fighters and reports of rebel training camps but he was met with "complete denial" of any Jordanian role in either issue.

"We have no choice but victory. If we don't win, Syria will be finished and I don't think this is a choice for any citizen in Syria," President ended the Interview with those words.