Syrian state media dismissed as "not accurate" a report by news agency Interfax that President Bashar Assad told visiting Russian parliamentarians he has no intention of giving up power and the issue is not up for discussion.
Assad was quoted as telling the visitors days ahead of an internationally sponsored peace conference on Syria that "if we wanted to give up, we would have done so at the very beginning. We are on guard for our country. This issue is not up for discussion."
Syrian state television said that the Assad quotes on Interfax "are not accurate". It also said Assad "did not conduct an interview with the agency", although Interfax had not said that it had. (Reuters)