News / Middle East

Opposition Victory in Syria Possible, Russia Says

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, a damaged area is seen after a car bomb explosion in Qatana, southwest of Damascus, Syria, Dec. 13, 2012.
In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, a damaged area is seen after a car bomb explosion in Qatana, southwest of Damascus, Syria, Dec. 13, 2012.
Edward Yeranian
A senior Russian diplomat says Syria's opposition may win its battle against President Bashar al-Assad, marking the first time the powerful Syrian ally has acknowledged the Syrian government is crumbling due to internal and external pressure from the nearly two-year uprising.

In comments reported by Russian media, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said that “the regime is losing more and more territory,” and that the “victory of the Syrian opposition cannot be ruled out.”

Bogdanov accused Western nations of distorting Russia's position on Syria in order to weaken its influence in the Middle East. Moscow and Beijing have repeatedly blocked efforts by the United Nations Security Council to address the Syrian crisis.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday that the Assad regime was “approaching collapse,” adding that he thinks it is “only a matter of time” before it crumbles.

Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, said that the regime has been losing military control of the capital Damascus in recent days, which could hasten its demise.

“If you noticed the pattern of events during the past two or three days, the number of bombings has increased rather dramatically and this is an indicator of the strengthening of the opposition around Damascus and the decline of the ability of the state's machinery of coercion to stop them," he said.

Khashan said that the Syrian “troops loyal to the regime have become combat fatigued.” He said that many troops are “no longer interested in fighting” and that the unending combat has started “getting to them.”

Deadly car bomb

Meanwhile, a car bomb on Thursday killed at least 16 people in a suburb of the Syrian capital.

Residents of Qatana picked through twisted metal, chunks of concrete and other debris after the attack near a Christian school.

A girl who witnessed the blast said she and her friends were going to school in the morning when the explosion hit.  She said many were hurt by the force of the blast.

"What did we do to deserve this?" she asked.

On Wednesday night, a bombing outside Syria's interior ministry killed five people. Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim Sha'ar was reported to have been lightly wounded and a member of parliament killed in the blast which shattered the facade of the ministry.

Rebel fighters traded machine-gun fire in the Damascus suburb of Daraya Thursday, as government artillery shelled a wide swath of rebel held territory. Amateur video also showed government warplanes bombing several suburbs of the capital.

The Syria government, meanwhile, denied reports that short-range missiles fired by government forces hit an area of northern Syria close to the Turkish border on Wednesday.

NATO sources announced that “allied intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets detected the launch” this week.

On Wednesday, a grouping of more than 100 nations formally recognized the newly re-organized opposition coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

The director of the Brookings Doha Center, Salman Shaikh, told VOA from the conference site in Morocco that the new coalition's leadership was "satisfied" with the outcome of the so-called Friends of Syria meeting.

"It's safe to say this is the most significant Friends [of Syria] meeting there's been," he said. "In fact, it's probably the first significant Friends [of Syria] meeting there has been."

VOA's Carla Babb contributed to this story.

You May Like

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sunny Enwerem
December 14, 2012 2:20 AM
Now Iran is next in line to face the law of karma,Russia had a point but list forgot the role Assad's Syria played in Lebanon against an x PM,the law of nature has finally come,even Russia has finally seen it come.

by: William from: Argentina
December 13, 2012 9:28 PM
Mr Jim, it must to be a hopeful time to the change people in Siria to see the barbarian regime of al-assad its next to fall, the rebels are close to take control of Damascus, but the capitol it is not all the whole territory of the country, maybe- you would to save my ignorance about it- are dispares focus of militaries loyal to the dictator, whom tries to resist to the end, my concern its that the entire Syria become at the front of door of a civil war post assad if the control of the country not complete in hands of the Free Syrian Army. Funds international of money in enogh amounts to be transfered to the next democratic goverment, in my opinion for the reconstruccion of homes, businesses, wide ways of infrastructure, as avenues, roads, poublic buildings, etc, and i believe that, the despot al assad has not to leave Syria,, let by mistakes or negligence invontary to another terror heavens as in south america, he should, i think, to be extradited to the Court for crimes of war in The Hague, Netherlands, to purgue jail lifetime , sincerelly, Willie.

by: Anonymous
December 13, 2012 9:24 PM
Or the Oily Emits can payoff more people....

by: jim terwiliger
December 13, 2012 2:18 PM
Apparently the Assad regime can no longer afford to buy weapons from Russia
In Response

by: Edward Yeranian from: Cairo, Egypt
December 13, 2012 3:44 PM
Hi Jim,
The Arab analysts say that Iran was doing the bankrolling, so perhaps Iran can no longer afford to buy weapons from Russia.
Edward

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs