Syrian President Bashar Assad vowed defiantly to "live and die" in Syria, saying in an interview broadcast Thursday that he will never flee his country despite the bloody, 19-month-old uprising against him.

The broadcast comes two days after British Prime Minister David Cameron suggested that Assad could be allowed safe passage out of the country if that would guarantee an end to the civil war, which activists estimate has killed more than 36,000 people.

"I am not a puppet, I was not made by the West for me to go to the West or any other country," Assad, 47, said in the interview with the English-language Russia Today TV. He spoke in English and excerpts of the interview were posted on the station's website Thursday with an Arabic voiceover.