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Exclusive: Syria calls UN chief 'very biased'

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad calls himself an 'optimist' Photo: ITV News

He has a large, bright painting of a field of flowers behind his desk. You'd be forgiven for not realising he is a minister in the midst of a brutal conflict, defending President Assad's deadly attacks and under fire from much of the rest of the world.

But Faisal Mekdad calls himself an optimist and clearly surrounds himself with sunny images.

To every sceptical question of mine he had a positive, though scarcely credible answer that flew in the face of the evidence and the charges.

I asked him about the opposition's claims that the Syrian regime has killed hundreds of people since the ceasefire was announced nearly three weeks ago.

"This is a big lie," he said. "In fact it is the government which is under attack. The government is absolutely innocent".

Then he detailed what the government has done to fight those who attack it.

"When we are attacked by mortars, we will not answer these people with flowers". He conceded that the regime is breaking the ceasefire, but only to defend itself.

"We have to protect our people", he said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is accused of being 'biased' by Syria Credit: Reuters/Eric Thayer

As for the head of the UN, Ban Ki Moon, who accused the regime of being the prime culprit in breaking the ceasefire, Mekdad said: "He is biased, very biased and I think he should correct himself".

The French and the Americans want the UN mission tasked with observing the ceasefire to fail, he claimed.

They want to make it fail because they want to get rid of President Assad.

As for the French move to call for armed intervention, that's "more than crazy; it's stupid. Their leadership is irresponsible and the French people will soon tell them enough is enough".

Anti-Syrian regime mourners carry the body of activist Nour al-Zahraa, 23, who was shot by Syrian security forces Credit: AP Photo

He came up with the most alarming statistic so far for the number of people who have died in the fourteen month conflict.

He said six thousand troops, police, security forces and "pro-Assad civilians" have been killed.

If you add that to the UN's estimate that more than nine thousand people have been killed by Assad's regime, that makes fifteen thousand people dead. So far.

These are official figures, remember, not estimates by activist groups.

Fifteen thousand dead.

Clearly the regime is not giving flowers to the rebels and not getting them back.

The painting of a sunny field of them on Mekdad's wall is very out of place in today's Syria.

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