World Bulletin / News Desk
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Tuesday his country was in a state of war and ordered his newly appointed government to direct all its efforts towards vanquishing the uprising against him.
"We live in a real state of war from all angles," Assad told a cabinet he appointed on Tuesday in a speech aired on Syrian state television. "When we are in a war, all policies and all sides and all sectors need to be directed at winning this war."
Assad dismissed the arguments of Western countries that have been calling for him to step aside. The West "takes and never gives and this has been proven at every stage," he said.
"We want good relations with all countries but we must know where our interests lie," he said.
Syrian forces are accused by the United Nations of killing more than 10,000 people during a 16-month revolt that has posed the greatest threat to four decades of Assad family rule.
The president's speech - which also included comments on the benefits of renewable energy and the strategic importance of the Syrian agriculture sector, while troops and rebels battled on the outskirts of Damascus - will be seen as an escalation of Assad's firm rhetoric that has shown no sign of compromise.
He said Syrians would learn to support the government once it better explained its plans for political reforms.
"When we transparently communicate with citizens, the citizens will understand and support us," he said.
"As I have always said, the problem is communicating with the citizen... When we don't explain, the citizen does not know what their capabilities are, so the minister or the government will not be evaluated objectively."
After Arab states arrayed against Qatar issue 13-point list of demands, resolution of crisis looks more distant than ever
Israel says it hits Syrian targets after projectiles fired from Syria landed on its territories
Women and men currently must pray separately at Jerusalem's Western Wall under strict interpretation of Jewish law.
Presidency pardons more than 1,000 prisoners for Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday
Media reports it advised Saudi citizens to avoid travelling to Turkey ‘baseless’, embassy says
Israeli military terms its attack in Syria 'a retaliatory' move to allegedly stop rocket attacks from Syria
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratifies transfer of two Red Sea islands to Saudi sovereignty
Opposition party leader says US efforts over Israeli-Palestinian peace processes will fail
More than 200,000 suspected cholera cases have been reported in Yemen
HRW accused UAE of running two secret detention facilities in Yemen
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier this week had been adamant that Kuwait was best placed to lead efforts to defuse the crisis.
The 13-point list of demands includes closure of Al Jazeera television and downgrading Iran ties
"Iran... as always expresses its readiness to assist and cooperate with other countries to confront these criminals, who deal death and ignorantly spread hate," foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi said.
Members of Al-Nahyan family given 15-month suspended sentence, fined
5 police officers, 6 foreign nationals wounded when suicide bomber detonates bomb