World Bulletin / News Desk
President Bashar al-Assad said Syrian rebels would not be victorious in their fight against his government although the "door to dialogue remains open".
In comments to the Egyptian weekly magazine Al-Ahram Al-Araby, to be published on Friday, Assad said "the armed groups exercise terrorism against the state. They are not popular within society ... they will not be victorious in the end".
At least 54 people were killed when an air strike hit a fuel station in Syria's northern province of al-Raqqa on Thursday. Activists say more than 27,000 people have been killed in the 18-month-old conflict.
Speaking from his office in the heart of Damascus, Assad said "change cannot be achieved through foreign intervention".
"Both sides of the equation are equal and political dialogue is the only solution. Violence, however, is not allowed ... and the state will not stand with its hands tied in the face of those who bear arms against it," Assad was quoted as saying.
International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi met Assad on Saturday in his first visit to Damascus as peace envoy. Brahimi said his visit confirmed that the situation was "extremely dangerous and escalating".
Assad said he was neither optimistic nor pessimistic about Brahimi's mission.
"I welcome dialogue with the national opposition but those who choose arms have put themselves in confrontation with the Syrian Arab army," said Assad, who admitted there was corruption and mistakes had been made.
Assad's rule structure draws mainly on his Alawite minority sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam, while the opposition is largely from the Sunni Muslim majority, enjoying the support of Sunni leaders who rule nearly all Arab states.
Criticising Qatar and Saudi Arabia for siding against him, Assad accused the Gulf states of trying to create a regional role for themselves by fuelling chaos in Syria and other Arab countries.
"Those have suddenly become wealthy after very long period of poverty," Assad said of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. "They imagine they can use their wealth to buy the geography, history and a regional role.
"Bringing down the governments of the Arab world has not worked in the interest of freedom, democracy or ending social injustice as much as it helped create chaos."
Assad also criticised Turkey, regarded as a key player in supporting Syria's opposition, for calling for the demise of Assad's government. Egypt and Saudi Arabia have also demanded that Assad step down.
Russia and China, staunch supporters of Assad, have vetoed proposed U.N. Security Council resolutions meant to put pressure on the Syrian leader and China has repeatedly said it opposes forceful foreign intervention.
North Korea's KCNA state news agency said Kim Jong Un, the country's leader, released the "criminal" Fowle, taking into consideration "repeated requests" from U.S. President Barack Obama
A resupply bundle intended for Kurdish forces fighting ISIL militants in the strategic Syrian town of Kobani might instead have been seized by ISIL, the Pentagon said
The state news agency said Assad had shuffled governors of Aleppo and Idlib provinces in the north - both partly controlled by rebels and the site of frequent fighting
Jurors found three of the ex-guards guilty of manslaughter and weapons charges, and a fourth guilty of murder.
A senior Chadian diplomatic source who requested anonymity said Jonathan made the announcement to show he had obtained a result but a deal had not yet been finalised.
The decree pardons certain political figures living outside the African country, who were previously accused of committing political crimes, according to state television
The decision was welcomed by Kosovo's Olympic Committee, formed in 1992 with more than 30 affiliated national federations with 13 of which being Olympic sports federations.
The clashes had broken out in Silwan neighborhood after Israeli troops raided the homes of the relatives of a Palestinian driver accused of running over and killing a baby and injuring eight people
A baby was killed and eight people were injured when a Palestinian driver ran over passengers in Jerusalem
It was the second flare-up this week and comes weeks after Britain and France agreed to improve border controls
A Canadian soldier was shot at the Canadian War Memorial in Ottawa and the parliament building attacked in which gunshots were fired
Widodo had originally planned to announce his cabinet of 33 ministers on Tuesday, said his team would be made up of 18 technocrats and 15 political appointees.
A 13-year-old boy was detained after hurling stones at Israeli cars in the Al-Tur neighborhood, three other Palestinian boys, aged between 14 and 16, were detained for throwing rocks at Israeli police vehicles in the Beit Hanina district.
Iranian demonstrators gather in front of Isfahan Department of Justice building to protest acid attacks against women in the street.
The Ansar al-Sharia group wrote on Twitter that its fighters had killed 30 Houthi militants in attacks on their homes in Rada'a city on Tuesday.
Iraq's Kurdish parliament unanimously votes to deploy Peshmerga forces in Syrian town of Kobani besieged by ISIL militants.