Addressing the nation President Assad said Syria "will not have a dialogue with a puppet made by the West".
The remarks were his first in public since a Russian television interview in November when he pledged to stay in Syria and fight to the death if necessary.
A 21-month uprising against Assad has become a civil war that the UN says has killed 60,000 people.
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White House budget officials outlined the information during a telephone call with reporters given on condition of anonymity.
A prison officer is to be charged with gross negligence manslaughter and misconduct in public office in relation to the death of an inmate.