The United Nations estimates that more than 70,000 Syrians have been killed since anti-government protests in March 2011 led to a fierce government crackdown, an armed uprising and a civil war with no end in sight. At least 125 people were killed across the country Sunday, the Local Coordination Committees reported.
The voice of Assad
In an interview with Argentine journalists on Saturday, Assad said Syria can solve its own problems.
"It isn't up to the United States or any other country to intervene," the Syrian president told Argentina's Telam news agency. "This is an issue that is Syrian. We are an independent state. We respect ourselves. We don't accept anyone telling us what to do -- not the U.S., not any other country."
Assad asserted he's dealing appropriately with people he calls "terrorists."
"Nobody has dialogue with the terrorists. Terrorism has hit the United States and Europe. By any chance, did any of these governments talk to terrorists? One talks with political entities, but not with a terrorist who cuts people's throats, assassinates people and uses chemical weapons," he said, ignoring allegations that his own government has very likely used chemical weapons on Syrian citizens.
The Syrian civil war has uprooted a quarter of the country's civilians, according to the United Nations.
The number of Syrians who have fled the violence has surpassed 1.5 million, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said Friday.
Since the start of 2013 alone, the UNHCR has registered close to 1 million refugees crossing out of the battered nation into other countries, which amounts to about 250,000 people each month.
Along with the refugees, more than 4 million people have been internally displaced.
Syria has a population of just over 22 million, according to the CIA World Factbook.