BEIRUT — The Syrian regime said Monday there will be no negotiations with the opposition before the army crushes the rebels, the latest sign that President Bashar Assad is determined to solve the crisis on the battlefield even if many more of his people have to pay with their lives.
‘‘There will be no dialogue with the opposition prior to the Syrian army’s imposition of security and stability in all parts of the country,’’ Information Minister Omran al-Zoebi told reporters at a news conference in Damascus.
Zoebi also said the growing number of refugees who have fled the country ‘‘can come back at any time,’’ and he criticized the presidents of Egypt and Turkey, who have called for outside intervention to end the bloodshed in Syria.
Zoebi made the statements a day after activists reported that about 5,000 people were killed in August, the highest toll in the 17-month-old uprising and more than three times the monthly average.
In the latest violence on Monday, activists said more than 100 people were killed, many of them in two air raids that knocked out large parts of buildings in the northern province of Aleppo. Government warplanes bombed the town of Al-Bab, killing at least 19 people, and the Aleppo neighborhood of Myasar, where 10 people, including four children, were killed.
Syrian officials said a bomb attached to a taxi blew up in the Damascus suburb of Jaramana on Monday, killing five people and wounding 23. Activists also reported scattered violence in other parts of the country, including the Damascus suburbs, the region of Deir el-Zour in the east, Daraa in the south, and Idlib and Aleppo in the north.
During his news conference Zoeb disputed reports that the government’s crackdown on the rebel uprising was forcing hundreds of thousands of Syrians to flee to refugee camps in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. ‘‘The Syrian government did not and will never kick anyone out,’’ he said.
Zoebi also warned against foreign power intervention in Syria, saying ‘‘if anyone infringes on our national sovereignty, there will be no red lights to our retaliation. . . . We will cut such a hand and make them pay a high price.’’
Because of the refugee crisis, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has called for international intervention to establish a no-fly zone and safe areas within Syria for civilians fleeing the conflict. Egypt’s new president, Mohammed Morsi, has called on Arab countries to act to stop the violence.
Syria’s statement that it would not negotiate with rebels is largely symbolic. Opposition leaders have long rejected any talks with the regime until Assad is removed from power.
Muhieddine Lathkani, an opposition figure based in Britain, responded to the information minister’s comments by saying ‘‘the key to any dialogue will be the departure of Assad and dismantling of the regime’s security agencies that committed all these crimes.’’
Diplomatic efforts to solve the seemingly intractable conflict have failed so far. A peace plan by former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan never got off the ground and Annan quit his post as special UN envoy. He was replaced Saturday by Lakhdar Brahimi, a 78-year-old former Algerian foreign minister.
Brahimi, who also served as a UN envoy to Afghanistan and Iraq, commended Annan on his work during an interview Monday, saying he did ‘‘everything possible.’’
‘‘We discussed this several times and I can’t think of anything that I would have done differently from him,’’ Brahimi told the BBC in an interview. ‘‘It is definitely a very, very difficult mission.’’
Asked whether his task was ‘‘mission impossible,’’ Brahimi said: ‘‘I suppose it is.’’
Zoebi pledged that Syria will cooperate with the new UN envoy. ‘‘We will give him maximum assistance, the way we did with Kofi Annan.’’
The Assad regime made similar public statements when it signed on to Annan’s peace plan, only to frequently ignore or outright violate its commitments by refusing to pull its troops out of cities and cease its shelling of opposition areas.
The West has shown little appetite to intervene in Syria, in part because, unlike the military intervention that helped bring down Moammar Khadafy in Libya, the Syrian conflict has the potential to quickly escalate.
Western powers, however, have warned Assad against using chemical weapons in the conflict. On Monday, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius of France said that if Syria uses such weapons, ‘‘our response . . . would be massive and blistering.’’