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Syrian foreign minister: Rebels no match for military

Published August 16, 2012 12:29 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

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.