Damascus: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday defended his security forces’ deadly crackdown on anti-regime protests as the “duty of state” to confront “outlaws.”
“Syria is on the path to reforms,” he said, quoted by state news agency SANA.
“To deal with outlaws who cut off roads, seal towns and terrorise residents is a duty of the state which must defend security and protect the lives of civilians,” he said in a meeting with Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansur.
His statement came the day after a personal appeal by UN chief Ban Ki-moon for Assad to halt the bloodshed.
Ban in a telephone call “expressed his strong concern and that of the international community at the mounting violence and death toll in Syria over the past days,” UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said late Saturday.
The Secretary General “reflected to the Syrian President the clear message sent by the (UN) Security Council and urged the President to stop the use of military force against civilians immediately,” Nesirky said.
Ban’s call followed a pledge by the US, French and German leaders to consider new steps to punish Syria after security forces killed more than 30 people on the first Friday of Ramadan, the holy Muslim month of fasting. Zeenews