The Syrian opposition is deeply fragmented, and various factions would likely disagree on whether they would accept him to lead a transitional government. Al-Sharaa, in the interview, said he was not seeking such a role.
Violence across many parts of the country, including a Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus, flared again on Monday.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the United States is ‘‘deeply concerned’’ by reports that dozens of civilians were killed or wounded in Yarmouk camp as a result of aerial bombardment and fighting between Syrian government forces and armed opposition.
At least eight people were killed in the airstrike on Yarmouk Sunday, according to Syrian activists.
Ninette Kelley, a Lebanon representative for the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, said 22 buses carrying 100 Palestinian families from Yarmouk crossed into Lebanon in the past 24 hours, fleeing the violence.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem claimed the clashes at the camp were triggered by the al-Qaida-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra group, which was designated by the Obama administration a terrorist organization last week. He warned Palestinians inside the camp not to harbor terrorist fighters.
Syria’s official news agency SANA said Moallem’s remarks were made during a telephone call with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Separately, Italy’s government said three workers at a Syrian steel plant, including an Italian, have been kidnapped.
The Foreign Ministry did not say where or when the kidnappings occurred. But it said the plant is located in the regime stronghold of Latakia city on Syria’s Mediterranean coast. The ministry statement said the two workers kidnapped with the Italian were citizens of other countries, but did not identify them further.
Sky TG24 TV in Italy reported the other two hostages are Russians, but there was no immediate confirmation of that.
AP writers Barbara Surk in Beirut, Frances D'Emilio in Rome and Albert Aji in Damascus contributed to this report.