Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said that the three-year civil war in Syria is “passing through a turning point” following a series of military victories by government forces.
“This is a turning point in the crisis, both militarily in terms of the army’s achievements in the war against terror, and socially in terms of national reconciliation processes and growing awareness of the truth behind the (attacks) targeting the country,” the Syrian president said, according to the AFP news agency.
“The state is trying to restore security and stability in the main areas that the terrorists have struck,” said Assad.
“We will go after their positions and sleeper cells later.”
He made his comments as reports came through of the army retaking the towns of Maaloula and al-Sarkha in the Damascus province, as well as the strategically important Sal Derin Mountain, which overlooks the city of Kasab in the northwest of the country.
Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi said that the Syrian government was also waging a war on the economic front as they try to battle the falling value of the Syrian pound. The currency was trading yesterday at 176 against the U.S. dollar, compared to 156 last week. It has lost nearly three quarters of its value since March 2011.
Government warplanes also launched fresh strikes on rebel strongholds on the edge of Damascus. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 13 people, including women and children, were killed in two strikes against the city of Douma, six miles northeast of the Syrian capital.
The government continues to blame the rebellion on foreign-backed insurgents, refusing to acknowledge any grassroots movements against Assad. The president said that the country “is not only being targeted because of its geo-political significance… but because of its historic role in the region and its big influence on the Arab street.”
He added that Syria “is subject to a bid to take control of its independent decision-making, and an attempt to change its policy from one that suits the Syrian people’s interests, rather than the interests of the United States and the West’s interests in the region.”