Syrian President Bashar Assad told the Arab League-UN envoy Wednesday that foreign support for the armed opposition must end if any political solution to the country's conflict is to succeed, state-run media said, according to AP.
"For any political solution to be successful, it is crucial to halt support for terrorist groups and the countries that sponsor them, facilitate the entry of terrorist mercenaries and offer them money, weapons and logistical support," Assad was quoted by Al-Ikhbariya television as telling Brahimi. "The Syrian people alone are entitled to draw the future of Syria. Any solution must be approved by them and reflect their wishes away from any foreign intervention."
"This is paramount to prepare the circumstances for dialogue and put clear mechanisms that achieve this goal," Assad said.
Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are among the Syrian opposition's most active supporters, providing financial and logistical support to the rebels. The United States and some of its European allies have provided non-lethal aid, although Washington has promised for months to send light arms to Western-backed opposition fighters.
The meeting Wednesday between Brahimi and Assad was the first direct contact between the men in 10 months. After his last trip to Syria in December 2012, Brahimi angered Syrian authorities when he said that 40 years of rule by Assad's family was "too long." Syrian officials then accused him of being biased.
Brahimi's trip to Damascus was the latest stop on a regional tour in recent days as he tries to lay the groundwork for the proposed peace talks in Geneva that are tentatively planned for next month. But Assad, whose government has regained the momentum in recent months in the conflict, showed little sign of inching toward compromise.
Meanwhile, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activist group said rebels killed at least 17 people in an attack on a predominantly Alawite village in the central province of Homs early Wednesday.
Observatory directory Rami Abdurrahman said the opposition fighters killed six government troops at a checkpoint in Shallouh before sweeping into the village itself, where they killed 11 residents.
The SANA state news agency blamed the attack on a terrorist group, and said 13 locals were killed. The report did not mention any slain soldiers.
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