Syrian President Says His Fate Depends on Outcome in Aleppo
(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- As his troops engage in a life and death struggle with rebels for control of Syria's largest city, President Bashar al-Assad issued a statement Wednesday that his forces had proven their "steely resolve and conscience and that you are the trustees of the people's values."
Al-Assad, who has not been seen in public since a bomb blast killed four members of his inner circle two weeks ago, made his proclamation in a written statement.
The struggle to win the northwestern city of Aleppo, Syria's commercial hub, could well determine whether al-Assad stays in power or if opposition forces that he has dubbed "terrorist criminal gangs" will become the country's new leaders.
Exhorting his forces to continue their fight, al-Assad, who has only been viewed in TV clips since July 18, said, "The fate of our people and our nation, past, present and future, depends on this battle."
Since the conflict began in March 2011, an estimated 20,000 people have died in Syria and there are fears al-Assad could order the use of chemical weapons in a desperation move to defeat his enemies.
Meanwhile, the violence in Aleppo show signs of spinning completely out of control as video has been shown of rebel fighters apparently conducting executions of prisoners, presumably Syrian soldiers.
The United Nations is also reporting that the humanitarian crisis in the city is growing more dire as food and other essential supplies are not reaching civilians caught in the crossfire.
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