Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa told a Lebanese newspaper that the nation’s civil war is destined for stalemate, with neither the rebels nor the military able to prevail in the conflict.
“The opposition forces combined cannot decide the battle militarily,” al-Sharaa told the Al-Akhbar newspaper, which posted the comments to its English-language website yesterday. “Meanwhile, what the security forces and the army units are doing will not reach a conclusive end.”
The statements are al-Sharaa’s first public comments since July 2011, the newspaper said. The full interview will be published today, Al-Akhbar said.
“With each passing day, the military and political solutions get further away,” al-Sharaa said. “The way events are heading will lead to an uncomfortable place where things will definitely go from bad to worse.”
Al-Sharaa said neither the army nor the opposition can claim to be the “sole legitimate representation of the Syrian people.” He called for a “historic settlement” that would include Syria’s neighbors and the United Nations Security Council.
Syrian fighter jets bombed a Palestinian camp in Damascus as rebels seized an infantry academy outside the northern city of Aleppo over the weekend.
The aerial bombardment of the Yarmouk camp in Damascus killed eight civilians, the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on its Facebook page. More than 40 combatants were killed in fighting over the military academy outside of Aleppo, including 20 government soldiers, the group said.
Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad are battling to defend military barracks, heavy weapons, oilfields and roads across the country against well-armed rebels. Fighters struggling to topple the government in Damascus have control of mainly Sunni Muslim areas stretching from the northeastern outskirts of the capital to the southwest of the city.
“The rebels are gaining ground and grabbing key Assad strategic and tactical assets,” said Theodore Karasik, director of research at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis in Dubai.
The conflict, sparked by protests across the Arab world that led to the fall of leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, has claimed at least 40,000 lives, according to the human rights observatory.