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President Assad meets with Patriarch Yazigi

11-02-2013
15:20
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Syrian President Bashar Assad received Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East John Yazigi on Monday and praised the high patriotism of the Orthodox Church and its role in strengthening national unity.         

Yazigi voiced his trust that Syria will emerge victorious from the crisis, stressing the necessity that Syrians stick to their national principles.   

Assad had told a Jordanian delegation in Damascus that Syria will not submit to pressures and plots.

This as a top US military officer said on Sunday he favored the idea of arming Syrian rebels during discussions within the Obama administration about how to help resolve the country's civil war, but there was never a specific plan under review.    


General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he thought arming the rebels might help end the crisis more quickly and avert the collapse of government institutions, which could lead Syria to become a failed state.    

"Conceptually I thought if there were a way to resolve the military situation more quickly it would work to the benefit not only of the Syrian people but also us," Dempsey told reporters aboard his plane from Afghanistan, where he attended a change-of-command ceremony for NATO-led forces.              

On the other hand, the Washington Post Daily reported that Iran and Hezbollah are preparing themselves for the day when the Syrian regime led by Bashar Assad is overthrown. Quoting officials in the US and Middle East, the paper reports that Iran and Hezbollah are building a "network of militias inside Syria" that will protect their interests in a post-Assad Syria.

On the Field:

A vehicle exploded at a border crossing on Turkey's border with Syria near the Turkish town of Reyhanli on Monday, killing at least seven persons and wounding several, a Turkish government official said.
  
"It was not an air strike. The explosion came from a car but we cannot yet confirm what caused it. There are definitely dead and wounded," the official told Reuters.

This as activists said that Syrian opposition fighters are battling troops loyal to President Bashar Assad for control of the country's largest dam.
 
Rami Abdul-Rahman, a Britain-based anti-regime activist, says there are sporadic clashes taking place around the al-Furat dam on the Euphrates River in the northeastern province of Raqqa.
    
He says a group of Assad's loyalists is held up Monday in the dam's control room but that most of the regime troops stopped fighting the day before after the rebels overran the nearby town of al-Thawra.
   
The fall of al-Furat dam into the opposition hands would be a significant blow to the regime because it supplies water to much of Syria.
    
Abdul-Rahman, who heads the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, says the rebels already control two other dams on the Euphrates.
 

REUTERS/LBCI

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