Syrian government says it has upper hand in uprising

Arab World Materials 10 May 2011 10:05 (UTC +04:00)

The Syrian government claimed to have gained the upper hand over the popular uprising against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, a senior official told the New York Times.

A top presidential adviser revealed in an interview that the government believes its crackdown on protests will succeed, after hundreds of deaths and arrests, DPA reported.

"I hope we are witnessing the end of the story," said Bouthaina Shaaban, an adviser who often acts as a presidential spokeswoman. "I think now we've passed the most dangerous moment. I hope so, I think so."

Shaaban said the government was prepared to face international condemnation and sanctions. The Times noted that her confidence contrasted with appearances two weeks ago, when the government seemed to be staggering under the strength of protests in dozens of cities.

The report said her comments were a rare window on the thinking of a government that has barred most foreign journalists from Syria since the start of the uprising, which has threatened 40 years of authoritarian rule by the Assad family.