Syrian PM says Assad ‘winning’ civil war
Assad’s forces have gained control of the area around Damascus and central Syria
Syrian Prime Minister Wael Halki said on Saturday during a visit to Iran that Syrian government forces were winning the war with rebels and would not rest while a single enemy fighter remained at large.
Halki said the era of “threats and intimidation has gone, never to return, while the era of victory and pride is being created now on Syrian soil,” according to Reuters.
The prime minister was speaking during a visit to Iran, which has provided military support and economic aid to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime during the two-and-half-year-old conflict in which 100,000 people have died.
The United Nations said on Monday that the delayed Geneva II peace conference would go ahead on Jan. 22. The government and the political opposition have both said they will attend, but rebel fighters on the ground have rejected the talks.
Assad, whose forces have regained their hold of the area around Damascus and central Syria this year, faces little pressure to make concessions to his opponents as long as he maintains military momentum and Iranian support.
“The Syrian government will not allow a single terrorist on Syrian territory,” Halki told Iran’s First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri, according to Syria’s State News Agency.
Jahangiri replied that Iran stood “in the same trench alongside Syria, supporting it at all levels against the aggressive axis of evil” aligned against Damascus, SANA reported.
The pair discussed activating Iran’s multi-billion dollar credit facility to Damascus, bringing Iranian companies back to Syria’s war-ravaged economy and speeding up deals to provide oil products, medical equipment and food, according to SANA.
Iran has sent military commanders to Syria to help Assad’s army, which is also bolstered by the pro-Iranian Lebanese Hezbollah militia and Iraqi Shiite fighters. They are battling rebels whose ranks are swollen by an influx of Sunni Islamist fighters from across the Muslim world.
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