Syria Is Winning!

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THE Syrian army has scored ‘major victories’ against ‘rebels’ and now holds ‘the balance of power’ in the conflict, President Bashar al-Assad told a Lebanese TV station yesterday.

In an interview with Hezbollah-linked Al Manar TV, Assad also said: ‘Syria has received the first shipment of Russian anti-aircraft S-300 rockets. The rest of the shipment will arrive soon.’

The S-300 is a highly capable surface-to-air missile system that, as well as targeting aircraft, also has the capacity to engage ballistic missiles.

Despite US warnings, Russia has said it will go ahead with the sending of S300 missiles to deter foreign intervention into Syria.

In his interview, Assad said: ‘The Syrian army has scored major victories against armed rebels on the ground and the balance of power is now with the Syrian army.’

Assad confirmed yesterday that Syria and the Lebanese Hezbollah movement are ‘on the same axis’.

He said: ‘Hezbollah fighters are deployed along the Lebanese-Syrian borders but the operations are conducted by the Syrian army until the terrorist groups are crushed.’

Assad condemned the backing for the ‘rebels’ from Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, noting that there are now 100,000 foreign fighters on Syrian soil.

Hezbollah’s support for Syria has drawn the condemnation of the US, the UK and the UN.

In Geneva, 36 of the 47 members of the UN Human Rights Council voted in favour of a resolution that implicitly refers to the involvement of Hezbollah fighters from neighbouring Lebanon in the fierce battle for Qusayr.

The non-binding text put forward by the United States, Turkey and Qatar ‘condemns the intervention of foreign combatants fighting on behalf of the Syrian regime in Al-Qusayr.’

It said nothing about the fighters supplied by Turkey and Qatar and backed by the US, UK and France.

In Washington, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki foamed at the mouth, saying: ‘This is an unacceptable and extremely dangerous escalation. We demand that Hezbollah withdraw its fighters from Syria immediately.’

Earlier, General Selim Idriss, the military chief of the West-backed self-styled Free Syrian Army, made an appeal to Western powers saying: ‘We are dying. Please come and help us.’

The mounting row over the lifting of the Syrian arms embargo has hit US-Russian efforts to convene a peace conference on Syria in Geneva in June.

Assad told Al Manar that Syria would take part in principle but doubts it will yield results.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov yesterday told reporters: ‘We are under the impression that the National Coalition and its regional sponsors are doing everything so as not to allow the start of the political process and to achieve military intervention in Syria through any means possible.’