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Assad Losing Syria, Say Russia and NATO

Published: December 13, 2012
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Source: WSJ

A top Russian diplomat on Thursday said President Bashar al-Assad could lose control of Syria, Moscow's first public admission of that prospect.

The statement came as Mr. Assad's government showed further signs of crumbling, and North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called Mr. Assad's downfall "only a matter of time."

"We have to face facts—the trend is that the Syrian regime and government are losing more and more control and more and more territory," said Mikhail Bogdanov, Russia's top envoy for Middle East affairs. "Unfortunately, the opposition could prevail."

On Thursday, a bombing in the Damascus suburb of Qatana killed 16 people, Syria's state news agency reported. It wasn't clear who was behind the blast, now a regular occurrence in and around the capital, Damascus, which the government blamed on rebels.

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