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Syrian official says 'battle to oust Assad has ended'

April 1, 2012 - Damascus

The year-long uprising to unseat Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power has ended, a government spokesman has said.

Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad al-Makdissi stressed during an interview with Syria TV that 'the battle to topple the state is over'.

"Our goal now is to ensure stability and create a perspective for reform and development in Syria while preventing others from sabotaging the path of reform," Fox News quoted him, as saying.

Makdissi added that the presence of Syrian Army soldiers in cities was 'for defensive purposes, to protect the civilians.'

"Once peace and security prevail, the army is to pull out," he told the state-run media.

According to the report, Makdissi's remarks come after a series of victories for the Syrian army in the cities of Hama, Homs and Idlib, which were former rebel strongholds.


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