World Bulletin / News Desk
Kofi Annan is due to hold talks on Monday with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who said U.S. political support for "terrorists" was hindering the peace envoy's plan to end 16 months of bloodshed.
Assad also accused Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey of supplying the rebels trying to overthrow him with arms and other support.
"We know that (Annan) is coming up against countless obstacles but his plan should not be allowed to fail, it is a very good plan," Assad told German television channel Das Erste.
"The biggest obstacle is that many countries do not even want this plan to succeed so they offer political support and continue to provide the terrorists in Syria with arms and money," Assad said, according to a transcript in German of the interview conducted in English on July 5.
Annan arrived on Sunday at the Dama Rose hotel in the Syrian capital, where U.N. observers have been staying since suspending their patrols because of an increase in the level of violence.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Sunday that Syrian opposition forces were growing more effective and the sooner the violence ended, the better were the chances of sparing Syria's government a "catastrophic assault" by rebel fighters.
While Assad has faced sanctions and international condemnation over his crackdown on dissent, major Western and Arab powers have shied away from direct military action.
Turkey has reinforced its border and scrambled fighter aircraft several times since Syria shot down a Turkish reconnaissance jet on June 22 over what Damascus said were Syrian territorial waters in the Mediterranean. Ankara said the incident occurred in international air space.
More than 30 people killed
"The sooner there can be an end to the violence and a beginning of a political transition process, not only will fewer people die, but there is a chance to save the Syrian state from a catastrophic assault that would be very dangerous not only to Syria but to the region," Clinton told a Tokyo news conference.
She appeared to be referring to the possibility of Syrian rebels launching such an assault on state institutions rather than to any outside intervention.
"There is no doubt that the opposition is getting more effective in their defence of themselves and in going on the offence against the Syrian military and the Syrian government's militias. So, the future ... should be abundantly clear to those who support the Assad regime," Clinton added.
"The sand is running out of the hour glass."
Syria's navy fired live missiles from ships and helicopters over the weekend, in an exercise aiming at demonstrating its ability to "defend Syria's shores against any possible aggression", state media said.
More than 30 people were killed on Sunday during a government bombardment and clashes between Syrian forces and Free Syrian Army rebels fighting to oust Assad, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Rami Abdelrahman, head of the Observatory, said residents of al-Sharifa in the wider Deir al-Zor province were reporting that rebels had for the first time taken over a tank and were using it to attack army positions.
The rebels have gained confidence in recent weeks, staging bolder attacks, holding pockets of territory across the country and clashing with troops only a few miles from the presidential palace in Damascus.
Israeli Prime Minister has once again slammed the West for anti-Israeli sentiment....
Powers iron out renewed cessation of hostilities following renewed fighting, particularly around Aleppo
US defense chief Carter says coalition will increase military support to local partners in Syria and Iraq to fight ISIL
Police stormed press syndicate’s Cairo HQ on Sunday and arrested two journalists for ‘inciting protests’ and ‘plotting to overthrow regime’
34 inmates already handed over to Syrian Red Crescent, prison sources say
Jordan shares 375-kilometer-long border with Syria, punctuated by numerous informal crossings
Head of UN humanitarian efforts for Syria warns of 'endless suffering' caused by renewed fighting
Riyadh and Khartoum have signed agreement to explore minerals in joint territorial waters of Red Sea
Sources say no clashes were reported in Latakia’s northern countryside and Eastern Ghouta since Friday
A fresh offensive with a rebel coalition has fought against the Assad regime overnight in Aleppo
The police raid provokes a firestorm from journalists, who stage a sit-in amid calls for sacking the interior minister
''The target date for the transition is first of August,' Kerry says
'Participants will meet... on Wednesday in a plenary session to follow up with the agreed agenda,' UN envoy says
Kurdish peshmerga forces and Hashd al-Shaabi militiamen had recaptured Bashir village from ISIL last week
'Aleppo is burning and it is crucial that we focus on this top priority issue,' British envoy says
UN panel says 'the use of solitary confinement in Israeli jails has doubled between 2012 and 2014,' with the number of people held in isolation jumping from 390 to 755 over the period