Syria’s civil war continues to claim victims: Al Arabiya quoted Syrian opposition sources as saying that 50 people were killed after a surface-to-surface missile fired by Bashar Assad’s forces hit a residential area in the city of Aleppo.
Al-Jazeera also reported the incident stressing that the missile was aimed at civilian residential areas.
It quoted opposition sources as saying that mortar shells were also fired at the houses.
Footage from the scene showed severe damage with some civilians trapped under the rubble. Additionally, rebels reported that a Scud missile was fired at Tel Rafaat, a suburb of Aleppo.
One opposition group said that 90 people were killed as part of clashes between rebels and army forces on Monday.
Last week the rebels launched a massive assault in the hopes of gaining control of an airport and military airfield near Aleppo. They have since seized an important military base.
Meanwhile, The London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper published statements allegedly made by Syrian President Bashar Assad during a meeting with Jordanian officials in Damascus. According to sources present at the meeting, Assad rejected the idea of stepping down and said he is determined to run for reelection in 2014.
Assad, according to the paper, explained he would be like any other Syrian citizen after “the weight of presidency” is lifted off him in 2014. He will then have two options: running for a second term or resuming his work as an opthalmologist and living a peaceful life.
Assad was quoted as saying that “there is talk that I should step down or announce I will not run for reelection. I won’t do that and will reserve my right to push my candidacy. If I decide not to, I will nevertheless stay in Damascus. I have family, friends and country.
“I will serve my country and continue to work at my clinic even if I am not president.” He further added, “The ballots will decide between me and the others.”
During the meeting, the Syrian president discussed “the plot against Syria” claiming that the campaign is “not against the Salafi or the Islamists, it’s against the Zionists and the United States.”
He also reportedly expressed sorrow over the loss of lives in Syria. “The images of carnage are painful. Some people forget I am flesh and blood. I’m not a wild animal and you must keep in mind I am a doctor and it pains me to see death.”