Syrian foreign minister: Rebels no match for military
Published: August 16, 2012 12:29PM
Updated: August 16, 2012 12:30PM
UN-Arab League Joint Special Envoy for Syria (JSE) Kofi Annan, left, meets with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem, right, in Damascus, Syria, Monday, May 28, 2012. Annan arrived in Damascus on Monday for talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad. (AP Photo/Bassem Tellawi)

Beirut • Syria’s foreign minister claims rebels have no hope of defeating the military forces of President Bashar Assad’s regime.

The defiant comments by Walid al-Moallem comes as the government steps up airstrikes against rebel strongholds. Meanwhile, opposition fighters have pushed into the heart of the capital Damascus with guerrilla-style bombings and abductions.

Al-Moallem says those who believe Assad’s military can be defeated are “dreaming.” The remarks Thursday are excerpted from an interview on Syrian state TV.

He also sharply criticized Arab nations such as Saudi Arabia for supporting the rebels.

A U.N. report Wednesday said both Assad’s forces and rebels carried out war crimes in the 17-month-old conflict.