Assad: Army Engaged in Fight for Syria’s Fate

Posted August 1st, 2012 at 7:15 am (UTC-5)
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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says his army is engaged in a battle against rebels that will determine the fate of the country.

Mr. Assad praised the government forces in a statement Wednesday, as violence continued across Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least one person was killed in fighting between rebels and security forces in a predominantly Christian neighborhood of Damascus. Fighting has been rare in Christian areas of the capital during the 17-month uprising against Mr. Assad's rule.

The United Nations mission in Syria said Wednesday that it has confirmed that opposition fighters now have heavy weapons, including tanks. Spokeswoman Sausan Ghosheh also said that on Tuesday, the mission's observers saw for the first time government fighter jets firing on the city of Aleppo.

She expressed concern about civilians in Aleppo, saying some are trapped and seeking refuge in schools, hospitals and government buildings.

Rights group Amnesty International issued a new report Wednesday saying the government's ongoing assault in the city of Aleppo matches a “disturbing pattern” of abuses by government forces seen in other areas.

The U.N. General Assembly is scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss a Saudi resolution on Syria expressing concern about the violence and calling on Mr. Assad to step down.