Bloomberg News

Syria’s Assad Says Time Needed in Fight Against Opponents

August 29, 2012

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said his government’s battle against rebels will take time to be resolved and the “situation is better now.”

Assad made the comments in an interview with local Addunia television, broadcast yesterday, in which he praised government forces and blamed other nations, such as neighboring Turkey, for the violence in Syria.

“The Turkish state bares a direct responsibility for the blood spilled in Syria,” he said.

United Nations efforts to end the 17-month conflict faltered as military monitors left the country last week and fighting increased, with battles engulfing areas in the country’s two biggest cities, Damascus and Aleppo.

Syrian security forces killed at least 107 people across the country yesterday, the Syrian Network for Human Rights said on its Facebook page. More than 23,000 lives have been lost during the unrest, the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates.

Rebels destroyed 10 helicopters at an airport near Idlib, Al Jazeera television reported, airing footage of the attack. Syrian state television said no equipment was lost in the assault in which two soldiers were wounded and many “terrorists” were killed.

Syrians Flee

The UN refugee agency warned Aug. 28 that the tide of Syrians fleeing the country was rising. The number reaching northern Jordan doubled to 10,000 in the week to Aug. 27, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said on its website.

In the interview with Addunia, Assad said the “broad base of the Syrian people protects the country,” and paid tribute to the armed forces “in enabling this country to stand fast.”

Assad, who has vowed to crush the rebellion, said talk of an international buffer zone on Syrian soil “is not practical, even for those countries which are playing a hostile role” against his regime.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in Iran for a summit of non-aligned nations, pressed Iranian leaders to use their influence with Syrian leaders and seek a resolution of the conflict, according to a UN “note to correspondents” about his trip, which the U.S. and Israel had opposed.

Ban met with Supreme Leader Imam Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He urged them “to use Iran’s influence to impress upon the Syrian leadership the urgent need for the violence to stop and to create the condition for a credible dialogue and a genuine political process that meets the will of the Syrian people,” according to the UN statement.

Russia, which has backed Assad, denounced “barbarian” assaults on civilians in Syria and urged an investigation of the attacks, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement published on its website yesterday.

“There’s no doubt that some interested parties aren’t abandoning efforts to escalate tensions in Syria and undermine all steps aimed at reaching a political settlement,” according to the ministry in Moscow.

To contact the reporters on this story: Dana El Baltaji in Dubai at delbaltaji@bloomberg.net; Yeganeh Salehi in Dubai at yalehi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net


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