Dec 9, 2012
Dec 9, 2012
The Germany’s foreign intelligence chief said the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad won’t survive, however, it is not certain the time it will take before the regime surrenders.
The head of the Federal Intelligence Service, Gerhard Schindler, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper on Sunday that the Syrian conflict is reaching its final stage.
“Signs are increasing that the regime in Damascus is in its final phase,” Schindler told the newspaper.
He said there has been better coordination within the armed opposition resulting in combat improvements against the regime’s forces which “makes the fighting against Assad more effective.” As a result, Assad and his allies have become more focused on having control over some districts such as Damascus, and is relying on air power rather than ground faceoff.
Despite the efforts the regime has been trying to make for the past few months to contain the clashes from escalating into the country’s capital, armed opposition fighters clashed with the Syrian army at the borders of Damascus on Sunday as the regime increased its bombardment on towns where the armed opposition is located, such as the southern neighborhood of Qadam,
At least one opposition fighter was killed during clashes, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
Global concerns over Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles grew after U.S. officials this week privately said the regime had begun mixing precursor chemicals that could be used for the lethal nerve agent sarin.
On Saturday, Syria told the United Nations that it would never use chemical weapons against its peoples and warned that opposition fighters could use chemical weapons, following international threats of military intervention if President Bashar al-Assad uses the WMDs.
“No chemical or biological weapons will ever be used, and I repeat, will never be used, during the crisis in Syria no matter what the developments inside Syria,” said Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi.
“Terrorist groups may resort to using chemical weapons against the Syrian people… after having gained control of a toxic chlorine factory” east of Aleppo, the foreign minister added, using the government term for opposition fighter groups.
Some media reports said that the substance had been loaded into bombs for warplanes.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague, however, said there was evidence the Damascus government could actually employ chemical weapons stocks in the conflict which a rights group says has killed at least 42,000 people in nearly 21 months.
Troops shelled Daraya southwest of Damascus and Irbin to its northeast on Saturday, the Britain-based watchdog said.
For several days, the military has bombarded rebel strongholds in the suburbs from ground and air, raising fears of a looming ground assault by the army to try to establish a secure cordon around the capital.
Fifty of the 101 people killed nationwide on Saturday were killed in the Damascus region, mostly in the northeastern and southern outskirts of the city, the Observatory said.
In Syria’s second city Aleppo, where fighting has reached stalemate after nearly five months of deadly urban combat, the rebel-held Sakhur district in the east came under shelling overnight.
Elsewhere in the largely rebel-held northern province, the towns of Qabtan al-Jabal and Anadan were also bombarded by the army, the Observatory said.
Death toll on Saturday reached 58, including nine children.
The uprising against Assad began with peaceful protests in March 2011 and escalated into a civil war. Armed opposition commanders have now joined forces under a united command.