Syria's embattled and increasingly isolated president has appealed to the leaders of a five-nation economic forum meeting in South Africa to help end his country's two-year conflict.
President Bashar Assad says Syria is being subjected to "acts of terrorism backed by Arab, regional and Western nations" — a reference to the Western-backed opposition fighting his regime.
Assad's appeal came in a letter sent to the BRICS forum of emerging market powers. The World Bank says these countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — are driving global economic growth.
Assad's letter was published by Syria's state media on Wednesday.
Syria's crisis began in March 2011 with protests demanding Assad's ouster. Following a harsh government crackdown, the uprising steadily grew more violent until it became a full-fledged civil war.