The Syrian foreign minister has said the EU reaction to President Bashar al-Assad’s speech on Monday showed the bloc wants to plant “strife and chaos” in the country.
Walid al-Mouallem told journalists in Damascus that his country would not bend to pressure from “the outside”.
Mouallem’s statement comes amid unverifiable reports that students at Damascus University were arrested and beaten on Tuesday night after the security forces moved in to disperse protests between pro- and anti-government supporters.
Mouallem also urged Syria’s northern neighbour Turkey to reconsider its response to Assad’s speech, which President Abdullah Gul dismissed as “not enough”.
Syria’s words come as a group of European diplomats arrived in the southern Turkish province of Hatay on a fact-finding mission. The area has borne the brunt of the influx of refugees from the crackdown.
Hundreds of displaced Syrians surged towards the camp’s front gate to stage an impromptu and noisy protest, calling for the Assad government to go.