April 18 - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accuses the West of supporting al Qaeda militants in Syria's civil war. Sarah Sheffer reports.
From Damascus, a Syrian family watches on as President Bashar al-Assad gives a defiant televised interview. In the Wednesday interview, Assad accused the West of supporting al Qaeda militants in Syria's civil war. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD, SAYING: "As they supported al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in the early stages and later paid a dear price for it; they are now supporting it in Syria, Libya and other places, and will pay a heavy price later -- in the heart of Europe and the United States." He was speaking a week after Syria's rebel al-Nusra Front, one of the most effective rebel forces battling his troops, formally pledged allegiance to al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri. The United States has designated the Nusra Front a terrorist organization and has sought to bolster rival rebel forces. The conflict in Syria, now in its third year, started with mainly peaceful demonstrations but has descended into a bloody civil war. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD, SAYING: "We have no choice but victory. If we do not win, Syria will be finished and I don't think this is a choice that is acceptable to any citizen in Syria." The United Nations says at least 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict.