Tunisia ready to grant asylum to Syrian president

Tunisia ready to grant asylum to Syrian president

Tunisia is ready to grant political asylum to embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his family if necessary, Tunisia's official TAP news agency reported Wednesday.

"If the Syrian president's departure to another country, including Tunisia, helps bring about a settlement to the political crisis in Syria, Tunisia will be ready to lend its assistance," Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki was quoted as saying.

Marzouki will give an interview to French daily La Presse, during which he is expected to announce that Tunisia's offer might also extend to al-Assad's close aides, Xinhua reported citing Tunisian media.

Tunisia decided to expel the Syrian ambassador in Tunis earlier this month. It also hosted an international conference last week asking for an immediate ceasefire in Syria and the opening up of humanitarian aid corridors in the unrest-hit country.

Tunisia was the starting point of the Arab Spring which toppled then president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali who is currently in exile in Saudi Arabia.

According to AKI news agency, Marzouki said "closing all exits in front of the Syrian regime" would "worsen its brutality against the revolution of the brotherly Syrian people and, consequently, the likelihood of causing thousands more victims".

More than 7,500 people have died in the violence since protests against al-Assad began in March last year, UN political chief B. Lynn Pascoe told the Security Council Tuesday.

He said there were "credible" reports that more than 100 civilians are dying in Syria each day.