Assad Refuses to Step Down

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will attend peace talks in Geneva in January but he will not be stepping down, Syrian state-run news insisted Wednesday. The U.S., Russia, and the United Nations this week announced a “Geneva 2” conference beginning Jan. 22 to create a transitional government in Syria to end the bloody civil war that has claimed an estimated 100,000 lives in nearly three years. But Assad insisted he would not succumb to Western pressure, and said “the age of colonialism, with the installation and toppling of governments, is over. They must wake from their dreams.”