Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has rejected a proposal by Turkey and some western countries of creating a ‘buffer zone’ for civilians within his country as ‘unrealistic.”

In an interview with Syria’s pro-regime Addounia television, Assad declared: "I believe that talk about a buffer zone is not practical, even for those countries which are playing a hostile role [against Syria].”

He added: "I can however cut short all the explanations with one sentence and that is that we are moving forward. Practically the situation is better. The fate of Syria is in the hands of the Syrians.”

Assad also sought to dispel rumors that he had fled Damascus in the wake of a July bomb attack that killed a number of his top officials.

In the interview, which recorded on Tuesday and broadcast on Wednesday, the president said he was speaking from the presidential palace in the capital.