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Syria needs time to win war against rebels - Bashar Al-Assad

Arab World Materials 30 August 2012 01:22
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in excerpts of an interview to be broadcast on Wednesday that his forces needed more time to win the war against the rebels, signalling that the military campaign to squash an 18-month revolt will continue, DPA reported.
Syria needs time to win war against rebels - Bashar Al-Assad

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in excerpts of an interview to be broadcast on Wednesday that his forces needed more time to win the war against the rebels, signalling that the military campaign to squash an 18-month revolt will continue, DPA reported.

"We are in the midst of a regional, global war, and it takes time to win it" he told al-Dounia television. "I can sum up all this in one sentence: We are moving forward. The situation is practically better but it has not been decided yet. That takes time."

Al-Assad said that he was still living in the presidential palace in Damascus, rebuffing rumours about his whereabouts since the July 18 bombing which killed four of his top security officials, including his brother-in-law Assef Shawkat.

Government forces are fighting rebels on several fronts, including in the capital Damascus, the largest city of Aleppo near the border with Turkey, as well as other cities across the country.

Activists said at least 50 people were killed across Syria on Wednesday, including 14 government troops killed by rebel fighters who attacked a military airport in the northern province of Idlib.

The uprising started with peaceful protests demanding that al-Assad step down and gradually became a civil war. Opposition activists say more than 27,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

Al-Assad says he is fighting terrorist groups backed by Western and Arab powers. The opposition says it will accept nothing less than al-Assad's resignation.

Western powers have ruled out military intervention to stop the bloodshed but the leaders of the United States, Britain and France have said this would change if al-Assad uses chemical weapons against the rebels. Syria says it will only use such weapons against an external threat.

Rebels posted video footage online showing missiles and chemical weapons masks which were allegedly seized from government forces.

They said 10 missiles were seized outside Damascus and the boxes of masks were found stacked in a government building in Aleppo. An unidentified man said the government had been distributing the masks to staff should chemical weapons be used against the rebels.

France, which has the rotating chair of the UN Security Council, is working on a proposal to create buffer zones in Syria to protect Syrian refugees.

"It's very complicated. We can't do it without the agreement of Turkey and other countries," Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told France Inter radio.

More than 200,000 Syrian refugees have fled to Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon.

New York-based Human Rights Watch on Wednesday urged Syria's neighbours to keep their borders open to the growing number of civilians fleeing Syria.

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