Syria - Reuters - February 26, 2012
Demonstrators attend a protest against Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad and against voting for a referendum on a new constitution in Mouadamia near Damascus on February 26, 2012. Photo by Reuters
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A Syrian official says the West is trying to destabilize his country for geopolitical reasons and warns that militarizing the Syrian opposition is a big mistake that will backfire.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi says the only way out of the current crisis that has killed thousands of people is for all parties to sit around the negotiating table and engage in dialogue.

He spoke Monday in an interview in Damascus with The Associated Press.

The Syrian government of President Bashar Assad has for months been battling an uprising of Syrians calling for his ouster. Western countries, including the U.S., have condemned the increasingly bloody methods Assad's government has used to put down the revolt.

Also on Monday, twenty people were killed in clashes, most of them in the restive province of Homs, activists in the area told DPA.

Activists in the capital Damascus said 10 people were injured when security forces fired on a funeral procession in Kfar Soussa.

The report of recent fatalities in the Syria crisis came as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said earlier Monday it had delivered humanitarian aid to affected areas in the central Syrian city of Hama.