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Crackdown on Syrian Protests ‘Will Continue,’ Assad Tells Times

Syria’s crackdown on protesters “will continue” even after the Arab League threatened economic sanctions, the Sunday Times reported, citing an interview with President Bashar al-Assad.

Attacks on the Syrian army last week show the country is facing armed operations and not peaceful demonstrations, Assad told the newspaper. “After eight months the picture is clear to us,” he said. “It is not a question of peaceful demonstrations but an armed operation.”

Assad said the “important thing is to look for the wrongdoers and hold them responsible for their actions. There are mistakes which have been discovered and where the wrongdoers were held accountable.”

The president described the Arab League’s decision to suspend Syria as “irrelevant,” and said military action against his country would create an “earthquake” across the Middle East.

The league’s move has “been done to show that there’s a problem between the Arabs, thus providing western countries with a pretext to conduct a military intervention against Syria,” Assad told the Sunday Times.

“The conflict will continue and the pressure to subjugate Syria will continue,” Assad said. “Syria will not bow down.”

Asked if he would fight and die, Assad said, “Definitely, this goes without saying and is an absolute.”

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