“Syria is in a state of war!”, that was the message the country’s president delivered to his newly appointed cabinet.
After the swearing in of his new government – in which most of the top jobs have gone to loyalist members of the ruling Baath party – Bashar al-Assad ordered them to spare no effort to achieve victory.
“As I said in my speech in parliament, we are living in a state of real war from all angles. When we live in such a situation, all policies and all sides and all sectors need to be directed at winning this war,” the president said.
Assad’s remarks came as some of the worst fighting of the 16-month conflict reached the outskirts of the capital Damascus.
The president’s declaration marks a change of rhetoric from Assad who has long dismissed the uprising against him as the work of scattered militants funded from abroad.