Assad answers Khatib: Syria will not submit to 'plots'
DAMASCUS - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday stressed that his regime, battered by nearly two years of revolt, will not submit to pressure or "plots" against it, reported state news agency SANA.
"Syria will remain the beating heart of the Arab world and will not give up its principles despite the intensifying pressure and diversifying plots not only targeting Syria, but all Arabs," Assad said at a meeting with a Jordanian delegation in Damascus.
The statement came after Syrian opposition chief Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib said he had received "no clear response" from Damascus over his offer of dialogue.
Khatib said in late January he was prepared to hold direct talks with regime representatives who did not have "blood on their hands," and so long as the discussions addressed replacing Assad.
The Assad regime had said it was open to talks but without pre-conditions.
The Syrian uprising began with mass peaceful protests in March 2011 and steadily grew into an armed insurgency amid continued state crackdowns.
Air raids, shelling attacks and fighting has left over 60,000 people dead since then according to the UN, the vast majority in the second year of the conflict.