Dec 13 2012 - 11:05
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Russian stances shift as Syrian rebels threaten to execute Ukrainian journalist, Russian nationals

Russian stances shift as Syrian rebels threaten to execute Ukrainian journalist, Russian nationals Lebanon, news ,lbci ,أخبار Syrian,shift,stances,Russian,
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Russian stances shift as Syrian rebels threaten to execute Ukrainian journalist, Russian nationals
Lebanon News

Eight people were reported dead when car bomb exploded on Thursday in Jdeidet Artouz, in Damascus suburbs.

Earlier, sixteen people were killed and more that 25 wounded, including women and children, in a car bomb in Qatana, a town 25 kilometres (15 miles) southwest of Damascus, al-Manar television channel said on Thursday.                   

Qatana is part of a string of outlying suburbs and towns where President Bashar al-Assad's forces have been trying to push back rebels. The attack follows three bombs which exploded at the Interior Ministry on Wednesday evening, killing five.                  


Positions:

The head of NATO said on Thursday he thought the government of President Bashar al-Assad was nearing collapse, and condemned the use by Assad's forces of Scud missiles to attack rebels.    

"I think the regime in Damascus is approaching collapse," NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters after a meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at NATO headquarters in Brussels.    

Rasmussen said the Syrian government's use of Scud missiles showed "utter disregard" for the lives of Syrian people.

"A Syrian opposition victory is possible, but at an absolutely unacceptable price,"  Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov was quoted as saying via Russia Today.


An opposition victory in Syria cannot be ruled out and Russia is working on plans to evacuate its citizens from the Middle Eastern nation if necessary, Russian news agencies quoted the Kremlin's special envoy for Middle East affairs as saying on Thursday.   

"One must look the facts in the face ... the regime and government in Syria is losing control of more and more territory," state-run RIA quoted the envoy, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, as saying. "Unfortunately, the victory of the Syrian opposition cannot be ruled out."             

These statements  come in the wake of a video released by Syrian rebels behind the kidnapping of Ukrainian journalist Ankhar Kochneva who threatened more attacks on Russians and Ukrainians, as a deadline for her execution approaches today, Novosti reported.             

Kochneva, a 40-year-old Ukrainian citizen, was abducted in October by Syrian rebels as she traveled to the city of Homs, and has been held there by them since, they claim. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry urged Damascus on Tuesday to step up its effort to ensure her release.             

The rebels responded with a video threatening to target the embassies of Ukraine and Russia and their citizens.
       
“Let not a single Russian, Ukrainian or Iranian come out of Syria alive,” the rebels said in a video broadcast by Ukraine's Ukraina TV channel on Wednesday.

Syria denied on Thursday that it had used Scud missiles in its fight against "terrorist groups," a Foreign Ministry statement posted on state news agency SANA said.   

"The Foreign Ministry confirms that these (Scud) missiles were not used in confronting the terrorists groups," it said.   

US and NATO officials said on Wednesday Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces have fired Scud-type ballistic missiles against rebels in recent days. Damascus refers to rebels fighting to oust Assad as terrorists.

Interview with leader of Syrian National Coalition Mouaz al-Khatib:             

The Syrian people no longer need the intervention of international forces as rebels push towards the heart of the capital of Damascus to topple President Bashar al-Assad, the new leader of Syria's opposition told Reuters.           

"The horrific conditions which the Syrian people endured prompted them to call on the international community for military intervention at various times", al-Khatib said.              

For the full interview please click on this link

AP/REUTERS
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