No. 2 man in Syria: Each side los­ing

Rare ad­mis­sion comes af­ter rebels take an­other base.

Austin American-Statesman - - THE SECOND FRONT - By Bar­bara Surk DE­VEL­OP­MENTS — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

BEIRUT — Syria’s long­time vice pres­i­dent said Sun­day that his regime and the rebels are both go­ing down a los­ing path af­ter 21 months of civil war, a rare ad­mis­sion by a top government of­fi­cial that Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad’s vic­tory is un­likely.

The com­ments by Farouk al-Sharaa came as an Is­lamist fac­tion of Syr­ian rebels cap­tured an in­fantry base in the north­ern city of Aleppo, and Syr­ian war­planes blasted a Pales­tinian refugee camp in Da­m­as­cus, killing eight peo­ple and wound­ing dozens, ac­tivists said.

Al-Sharaa told the Le­banese news­pa­per Al-Akhbar that nei­ther the rebels nor the As­sad regime can “de­cide the bat­tle mil­i­tar­ily.” It ap­peared to be an at­tempt to show that the rebels are not the so­lu­tion to the Syria con­flict, and their vic­tory might bring chaos

Egypt said Sun­day that it has evac­u­ated more than 4,000 of its na­tion­als from Syria over the past few months. The Cairo For­eign Min­istry state­ment did not give fur­ther de­tails. Egypt’s na­tional air­line halted flights to and from Syria last month be­cause of the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion.

Also Sun­day, Iran put for­ward a six­point plan to end the Syria civil war, in­clud­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions, pres­i­den­tial elec­tions and a halt to arms ship­ments. This came dur­ing a two­day meet­ing of 200 rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Syr­ian com­mu­ni­ties, but no prom­i­nent rebels. The rebels are un­likely to re­late to the plan, as they refuse to talk to As­sad and con­sider Iran un­qual­i­fied to me­di­ate be­cause of its sup­port of the regime. to the coun­try.

Balancing that, he said the As­sad regime “can­not achieve change.”

The so­lu­tion to the con­flict must come from within Syria, al-Sharaa said, adding that any po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment “must in­clude stop­ping all types of vi­o­lence, and the cre­ation of a na­tional unity government with wide pow­ers.”

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