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Assad: Meddle in Syria, Burn Whole Region

Syrian president tells West to butt out or face 'an earthquake'
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 30, 2011 5:39 AM CDT

(Newser) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is warning the West not to get involved in the unrest in his country or it will face "an earthquake" or "tens of Afghanistans," he tells the Telegraph. "Syria is different in every respect from Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen," he said in his first interview with a Western journalist since uprisings began in March. "Any problem in Syria will burn the whole region." With at least 3,000 civilians killed since protests began, Assad said that "many mistakes" have been made by his security forces, but now "we are only fighting terrorists."

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Assad also insisted that Syria had immediately pursued reform within days of the protests' beginnings. "We didn't go down the road of stubborn government," he said. "Six days after [the protests began] I commenced reform." (Protesters probably would say otherwise). Assad also emphasized that he was fighting against Muslim extremism: "We've been fighting the Muslim Brotherhood since the 1950s and we are still fighting with them," he said. (Read more Bashar al-Assad stories.)

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