For Syrian rebels, Assad draws line in the sand

(CBS News) HATAY, Turkey - In Syria, where the dictator Bashar al-Assad is out to crush a rebellion that broke out 16 months ago, thousands of Syrians have been killed. The U.S., Turkey and other nations have said it's time for Assad to go.

In an interview -- in English -- with German television, Assad said he will not step down, and he accused the U.S. of meddling in Syrian affairs.

"It (the U.S.) is part of the conflict. They offered an umbrella - political support - to those gangs, to create instability - to destabilize Syria," Assad said in the interview.

The opposition believes that these types of comments are just more clear indication that the regime's mentality has not changed.

This is exactly type of rhetoric that President Assad has been using for over a year now and they also see it as evidence that special envoy from the U.N. Kofi Annan's peace plan is essentially doomed to fail because the opposition will not agree to a plan that allows President Assad to stay in power.

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President Assad with these comments has made it abundantly clear that he has no intention of stepping down voluntarily.

Some of the fiercest fighting has been near the border with Turkey. About 36,000 Syrian refugees are in Turkey now, and 300 more are crossing that border every single day.

This border has become incredibly tense in the last couple of weeks with Turkey bolstering its military presence here and saying that they are ready to meet the challenges that the Syrian military may put to them.

  • Clarissa Ward

    Foreign Correspondent, CBS News

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