Syrian president says his nation is in a state of war
Tensions mount in 16-month-old anti-government uprising
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has declared that his nation is in a state of war. The international community has voiced their condemnation of the downing by Syrian forces of a Turkish jet. Bashar has ordered his new cabinet to crush the uprising against his government, as tensions in the 16-month-old popular revolt continue to mount.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has declared that his nation is in a state of war.
President Assad admitted that Syria is in a "real situation of war.
"When one is in a state of war, all our policies and capabilities must be used to secure victory," he told his new cabinet.
"Violent clashes are taking place around positions of the Republican Guard in Qudsaya and Al-Hama," just kilometers away from central Damascus, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said, noting it was the first time that artillery was used "so close to the capital."
U.S. officials describe Assad as "desperate" and slowly losing his grip on power, citing defections and fighting raging increasingly close to Damascus, and offered new support to NATO ally Turkey after Syrian forces shot down one of its fighter planes last week.
"Clearly, Bashar al-Assad has been slowly - too slowly - losing his grip over his country," White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Air Force One.
"I would note that recent high-level military defections to Jordan and Turkey are another testament to the regime's loss of control over the situation in Syria."
"It is clear, however, that Assad is desperate to hang on to power at all cost, as evidenced by his continued use of air power and Shabiha gangs," Carney said.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the meantime said his country has since changed its rules of engagement and would now treat any Syrian security threat as a military target after Friday's incident.
"Turkey will exercise its rights, born out of international law, with determination, and take the necessary steps by determining the time, place and method by itself."
Erdogan was at one time a close ally of Assad. His reaction to the downing of the jet is his fiercest outburst against the old-line Syrian regime to date.
The incident over the downing of the Phantom F-4 fighter jet has split Moscow and the West, with NATO condemning Syria and voicing its solidarity with member state Turkey. Russia maintains that the incident should not be seen as intentional.
"We believe it is important that the incident is not viewed as a provocation or an intentional action, and that it does not lead to destabilizing the situation," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Syria, hostilities, Tyrkey, downing of jet, revolt
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