Assad Vows to Rid Syria of ‘Terrorists;’ Violence Mounts

Posted August 8th, 2012 at 12:20 am (UTC-5)
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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to purge his country of what he called “terrorists,” as security forces continue to fight rebels who have tried to seize control of parts of Aleppo and Damascus.

Syrian state-run media quoted Mr. Assad Tuesday as saying he would show no leniency towards “terrorists.” He met with Iran's visiting national security council secretary, Saeed Jalili.

Jalili pledged continued Iranian support to Syria, which he said was part of an “axis of resistance” against foreign opponents.

Also Tuesday, rights group Amnesty International released satellite images of Aleppo and the surrounding areas, showing what it says are signs of increased use of heavy weapons. The group said the images raise “urgent concerns” about an impending assault on the city.

It also warned both rebels and government forces that attacks against civilians will be “clearly documented.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says it is time for world powers to begin planning for what will happen after Mr. Assad's regime falls. She commented during a Tuesday appearance with South Africa's foreign minister in Pretoria.

“The intensity of the fighting in Aleppo, the defections, really point out how imperative it is that we come together and work toward a good transition plan.”

Clinton said she intended to discuss the issue with Turkish officials during her visit to Istanbul on Saturday.