Syrian President Bashar al Assad says he confident of victory against rebels, as the revolt against his rule rages on.
He was speaking during a symbolic visit to the battered town of Deraya, now mostly retaken by his army.
But Assad’s forces have suffered a blow in the central city of Homs – according to opposition activists.
At least 40 people were apparently killed in a huge explosion that hit a weapons cache, and in mortar attacks on mainly Alawite districts – the same minority sect as Assad.
Meanwhile, the UN is preparing to send an investigation team to three sites where chemical attacks have allegedly taken place.
Assad describes the revolt against four decades of his family’s rule as foreign-backed conspiracy, fought by Islamist “terrorists.”