"In his first full interview with a Western newspaper since he fled to Jordan in August, Riyad Hijab, the former prime minister, told The Daily Telegraph that he and other senior regime figures pleaded with Mr Assad to negotiate with the Syrian opposition.
One week before his defection, Mr Hijab, the vice-president, the parliamentary speaker and the deputy head of the Baath party together held a private meeting with Mr Assad.
"We told Bashar he needed to find a political solution to the crisis," he said. "We said, 'These are our people that we are killing.'
"We suggested that we work with Friends of Syria group, but he categorically refused to stop the operations or to negotiate."
Mr Hijab referred to the war waged against the Muslim Brotherhood by Mr Assad's father, Hafez, which led to the deaths of up to 10,000 people in an assault on the city of Hama.
"Bashar really thinks that he can settle this militarily," he said.
"He is trying to replicate his father's fight in the 1980s."......"