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Syrian conflict will end on the battlefield, Assad vows

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 5th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Arguably one of the most despised men in the world today, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has now declared that the nation's two-year civil war can only be decided on the battlefield.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "All routes have been tried and there is only one option left, which is to defend ourselves and our country with our own hands, and in this case everybody looks naturally to the armed forces," Assad said at a banquet according to official news agency Sana.

In reference to the bloody conflict that has claimed more than 100,000 lives, Assad said "it will be decided on the field," Assad said. While a "parallel political course" is possible, the government won't see any negotiations as "justification to stop combating terrorism."

Syria's civil war, which at first began with peaceful protests in March 2011, has plunged the nation into war and chaos and brought all economic growth to a halt.

Both the opposition and Assad have accused each other of targeting civilians and using chemical weapons. The U.S., which is backing the rebels, and Russia, one of Syria's far too few allies have so far failed to bring the sides together for peace negotiations.

Syrian rebels clashed with government troops in the western province of Latakia, home to members of Assad's minority Alawite sect. The rebels used locally made rockets to target troops in Nabi Younes, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in an e-mail today.
International sanctions against Syria have sent the national currency down the chute. The Syrian pound depreciated to a record 300 pounds to the dollar on the black market last month from 47 pounds to the dollar before the crisis began.

The Economist Intelligence Unit says that the central bank intervened last month and announced it would give dollars and euros to licensed exchanges at least twice a week. Syria also signed a $3.6 billion credit line accord with Iran in July.

Assad has recently banned the use of all foreign currencies, according to a statement on state-run Sana. Violators may face as long as three years in prison.

"The economic hardship that we are all suffering from, the deteriorating services and the daily issues that we as Syrians suffer from, are all linked to the security situation, and the only solution is to strike against terrorism," Assad said. He also added that he was confident that his government forces would win the war.

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