Assad: Ready to show foreign mercenaries to world

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MOSCOW (AP) -- Syrian President Bashar Assad says his country has captured foreign mercenaries who were fighting for the opposition and is ready to show them to the world.

Assad made the claim in an interview on Russian state television's news channel Rossiya-24. In the interview broadcast Wednesday, he also complained that Western countries voice protests against violence by his regime's forces but not by the opposition fighters.

Assad says religious extremists and al-Qaida members from abroad are among the forces fighting his government.

He says, "There are foreign mercenaries, some of them still alive. They are being detained and we are preparing to show them to the world."

The Assad regime's crackdown on a 14-month-long popular uprising has left thousands dead and prompted international condemnation.