Beirut: The key Syrian National Coalition rebel grouping on Thursday slammed President Bashar al-Assad, saying an interview he gave a day earlier showed the embattled leader`s "isolation from reality."
The opposition Coalition said Assad`s interview with Syrian state television "revealed his isolation from reality and blindness to the corruption and devastation and bloodshed that he has wreaked."
Assad`s "approach is like that of tyrants before him," it said, pointing to "his claims of control and denial of the other and the absence of reality and proposal of solutions that bear no relation to the crises."
On Wednesday Al-Ikhbariya news channel broadcast an interview with Assad in which he warned that the West would pay a heavy price for what he called its support of Al-Qaeda.
"The West has paid heavily for funding Al-Qaeda in its early stages in Afghanistan. Today it is doing the same in Syria, Libya and other places, and will pay a heavy price in the heart of Europe and the United States," Assad said.
Assad did not spell out how he believed the West was supporting Al-Qaeda in Syria. The United States and EU countries have been loathe to fulfill rebel requests for arms for fear they might fall into the hands of extremists.
He also warned that a defeat of his government would spell the demise of Syria.
"There is no option but victory. Otherwise it will be the end of Syria, and I don`t think that the Syrian people will accept such an option," he said.
"The truth is there is a war and I repeat: no to surrender, no to submission."
And he criticised the opposition, which has much of its leadership living in exile outside Syria.
"How can you be patriotic if you`ve fled?" he said.
In response, the Coalition insisted it was "a representative body for all Syrians, emerging from their revolution and their sacrifices and their will."
"It derives its existence and legitimacy solely from this revolution," it said.