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Assad 'Confident' of Victory in Syria

Syria President Bashar al-Assad addresses reporters, Dec. 9, 2010 (File)
Syria President Bashar al-Assad addresses reporters, Dec. 9, 2010 (File)
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says he is confident his forces will prevail in the country's crisis.

In a message Thursday on Syria's Army Day, Assad said without that confidence, the government would not have been able to resist what he called more than two years of aggression.

The conflict in Syria began as an uprising against Assad's rule in March 2011, and later developed into a civil war, leaving more than 100,000 people dead. Millions more have been displaced by the fighting.

Both the government and rebels opposed to the president have accused each other of using chemical weapons during the conflict.

The United Nations said Wednesday that U.N. experts will travel to Syria "as soon as possible" to investigate three sites where chemical weapons have allegedly been used.

U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said one of the sites will be the village of Khan al-Assal on the outskirts of Aleppo. He did not name the other two locations.

Khan al-Assal has been a key front in the battle to control Aleppo, Syria's largest city. Both opposition rebels and Syria's government accused each other of using chemical weapons during battles there earlier this year that killed about 30 people.

Syria had asked the U.N. to probe a single incident in the village, while earlier refusing to allow a wider inquiry that would include access to other sites.

The experts' trip will follow last week's visit to Damascus by U.N. disarmament chief Angela Kane and the head of the U.N. chemical weapons investigation team, Ake Sellstrom. The two went to Damascus at the invitation of Syria's government.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.
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