Syrian Olympic head brushes off British warning

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DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) -- The head of Syria's Olympic committee brushed off a warning from Britain that he could be banned from attending the London Games, saying he would be "honored" to be blacklisted because of his ties to Syria's president.

The Syrian government's 13-month crackdown on an uprising has killed thousands of people and led to broad sanctions and a European Union travel ban on President Bashar Assad and other top officials.

Syria's Olympic head, Gen. Mowaffak Joumaa, is not on the list and said Thursday he plans to attend the July 27-Aug. 12 games unless he is notified of an official ban.

Joumaa told The Associated Press that "once I am blacklisted, it would be an honor for me to be one of the citizens who were banned from entering Britain because of their country's dignity and freedom."