- ‘Welcome to the edge of freedom’: Biden’s boots touch down in DMZ
- Obama: Hole U.S. ‘digging out of’ requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- World mourns Nelson Mandela and celebrates his life; burial set for Dec. 15
- Bill O’Reilly reminds: Nelson Mandela ‘was a communist’
Syrian troops repulse rebel attack in Aleppo
BEIRUT (AP) — Syria‘s state media said Monday that government troops repulsed a rebel attack on a police school in the northern city of Aleppo, one day after President Bashar Assad called on Syrians to fight an opposition driven by what he characterized as religious extremists.
The official SANA news agency said regime forces killed and wounded members of a “terrorist group” in the fighting late Sunday, but it did provide a number. The government and the pro-regime media refer to the rebels seeking to topple Mr. Assad as terrorists.
Aleppo, Syria‘s largest city and a former commercial hub, has been a major front in the civil war since July, with battles often raging for control of military and security facilities such as the police school. Rebels recently have made gains around Aleppo, as well as in the east and in the capital, Damascus, bringing the civil war closer to the seat of Mr. Assad’s power.
In his speech Sunday, Mr. Assad sketched out terms for a peace plan but dismissed any chance of dialogue with the armed opposition, labeling them “murderous criminals” who he said were responsible for nearly two years of violence. Nearly 60,000 people have died, according to a recent U.N. estimate.
Mr. Assad appeared confident and relaxed in the one-hour address — his first public speech in six months. He struck a defiant tone, ignoring international demands for him to step down and saying he is ready to hold a dialogue — but only with those “who have not betrayed Syria.” He also vowed to continue the battle “as long as there is one terrorist left.”
He offered a national reconciliation conference, elections and a new constitution but demanded regional and Western countries stop funding and arming rebels trying to overthrow his regime first.
Syria‘s opposition swiftly rejected the proposal. Those fighting to topple the regime, including rebels on the ground, repeatedly have said they will accept nothing less than the president’s departure, dismissing any kind of settlement that leaves him in the picture.
The West, including the U.S. and Britain, denounced the speech, which came amid stepped-up international efforts for a peaceful settlement to the Syrian conflict.
The foreign minister of Iran, one of Syria‘s closest allies, hailed Mr. Assad’s initiative. Ali Akbar Salehi, the minister, said it contains “solutions” to the conflict and outlines “a comprehensive political process which guarantees the presence of all voices in power.” Mr. Salehi called on the international community to support Mr. Assad’s initiative.
“All regional and international partners should help the immediate resolution of the crisis and prevent its spread to the region,” Mr. Salehi said in a statement that was carried by the state-run IRNA news agency Monday.
Previous diplomatic initiatives have failed to stem the bloodshed.
The Dutch military on Monday shipped Patriot missiles to Turkey, a fellow NATO member, after the alliance agreed in December to deploy the anti-missile systems along Turkey’s southern border with Syria.
Once a close ally of Damascus, Ankara has turned into one of the Syrian regime’s harshest critics since Mr. Assad launched a crackdown on dissent. Turkey requested the missiles to boost its air defenses against possible spillover from Syria.
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Obama administration issues permits for wind farms to kill more eagles
- Obama: Hole U.S. 'digging out of' requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Craigslist killers: Police say newlyweds stabbed man for thrills
- 'Dude, I'm dreading that I will have to go': Czech prime minister on Mandela funeral
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- Rush Limbaugh: Obama trying to make Mandela death about himself
- NAPOLITANO: Pope Francis should be saving souls, not pocketbooks
- John Boehner says GOP should support gay candidates: I do
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
A stat-head’s outlook, direct from his worn in couch cushion.
Classical music and the performing arts: news and reviews you can use.
White House pets gone wild!