Assad reportedly says regime has duty to 'eliminate terrorists' in Syria

Embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Thursday that his regime had a responsibility to "eliminate terrorists" to save lives in Syria, Reuters reports.

In a rare interview with Iranian state television, Assad spoke out on the violence in his country.

"You have a responsibility to eliminate terrorists in any corner of the country," Assad said, according to Reuters. "When you eliminate a terrorist, it's possible that you are saving the lives of tens, hundreds, or even thousands."

Assad reportedly went on to reject any solution imposed by the outside.

"We will not accept any non-Syrian, non-national model, whether it comes from big countries or friendly countries. No one knows how to solve Syria's problems as well as we do."

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World powers will meet Saturday in Geneva for talks on Syria, but few observers expect a major breakthrough. Syria has the protection of Russia, a veto-wielding member of the U.N. Security Council, and has so far been impervious to international pressure.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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