Syria's President Bashar al-Assad
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad addresses his supporters during a surprise appearance at a rally in Damascus

Rifaat al-Assad, the uncle of the Syrian President claimed the leader could finally step down following a "family initiative."

Currently living in Paris, the man accused of carrying out a massacre in Hama in 1982 and known in Syria as "The butcher of Hama" said only an intervention from the Assad family could persuade Bashar al Assad to leave power.

"It is not possible for the current governance in Syria to continue. Intervention, on the family level, must be carried out to save Syria from sectarian strife and prevent foreign interference," Rifaat al-Assad told radio Sawa.

He added that military or foreign intervention could only be considered if "family diplomatic means" and "all Arab and international diplomatic means" fail to bear results.

Assad's uncle also said he would work hard at helping Syrians reclaim their rights and reinstate their authority.

He also warned the opposition is "incapable of overthrowing the regime in Damascus," and said another possibility would be a military-led coup to overthrow the leader.

Rifaat al-Assad is the younger brother of the late Syrian leader Hafez al-Assad.

He was in charge the country's security forces in the 1970s and early 1980s.

The two brothers fell out prior to Hafez' death, following accusation Rifaat was plotting against him to seize power.

The latter left Syria and mainly lived in France and Spain. Rumour has it that Bashar warned him he would be killed if he ever returned to Syria.

Since the uprising against the Syrian regime started ten months ago, Rifaat has tried to set up an opposition party, but has failed to gain strong international support following his previous role in the Syrian regime.