The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has no intention to intervene in the Syrian crisis, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Haaretz on Thursday following a meeting of treaty members' foreign ministers in Brussels.
Rasmussen avoided a direct response on whether or not NATO would intervene should Turkey and Syria be embroiled in a military confect, a situation which could bring Ankara to ask for the support of treaty members.
The NATO chief's comments came after France earlier Thursday that Syrian President Bashar Assad would not escape justice, rejecting his denial that he ordered troops to kill anti-government protesters.
The United Nations says more than 4,000 people have been killed in a nine-month crackdown, but Assad told the U.S. television channel ABC that only a "crazy" leader kills his own people and that most of those who had died were supporters of the government.
"Like all those responsible for the repression, he will have to pay for the crimes he has committed in Syria for months," French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said. "He will not escape justice."
France has been one of the strongest voices pushing for a UN resolution to threaten Syria with sanctions if it does not end the crackdown. Paris is now pushing for the creation of humanitarian corridors to provide aid to the population.
Valero said Paris gave Assad's "provocative" comments no credibility as they were in stark contrast with the reality on the ground. The United States has also rejected Assad's remarks.
Diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis in Syria have stalled, with Assad rejecting a peace plan offered in early November by the 22-state Arab League.
"The Damascus regime continues to obstinately refuse the demands of the Arab League and the international community," Valero said. "(But) the Syrian people and international community have judged him.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now