Aug. 29 - In a rare tv interview, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says the situation in Syria is ''better'' and that a West-backed buffer zone around his country is unrealistic. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Tuesday that talk of a Western-imposed buffer zone on Syrian territory was unrealistic and that the situation in his country, where rebels have been fighting to overthrow him, was "better." Assad was speaking in a rare interview with pro-government Syrian Addounia television, excerpts of which were broadcast by the station on Wednesday. The president, responding to rumours of his whereabouts since a July bombing in Damascus, said he was speaking from the presidential palace in the capital. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD, SAYING: "I can however cut short all the explanations with one sentence and that is that we are moving forward. Practically the situation is better." (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD, SAYING: "I believe that talk about a buffer zone is not practical, even for those countries which are playing a hostile role (against Syria). Despite the many mistakes that are in existence there are strong ties between the policies of these nations and the beliefs of these people."