A team of United Nations observers were finally evacuated from the northern Syria town of Khan Sheikhoun Wednesday, after their convoy was hit by a roadside bomb.
None of the international monitors were wounded in Tuesday's attack, but the group was forced to spend the night among rebel forces in the area after their vehicles were struck by the blast.
The attack came just minutes after eyewitness reports of regime forces gunning down nearly 20 mourners at a nearby funeral procession.
During his first interview in nearly six months, Syrian President Bashar Assad denounced opposition to his government and refused to soften his position, despite an international peace plan that includes a cease-fire.
"To call for boycotting the elections, that's the equivalent of calling for a boycott of the people," Assad said in the interview, referring to Western countries protesting violence by his regime. "And how can you boycott the people of whom you consider yourself the representative?"
"So I don't think that they have any kind of weight or significance within Syria," he added.
Uprisings in the country started last March with peaceful calls for change, but severe government crackdowns have led opposition forces to take up arms.
Tuesday's bomb is at least the second time U.N. observers have been caught in the middle of Syria's violence.
Last week, a roadside bomb struck a Syrian military truck in the south of the country.