BEIRUT - Sטרןשמ President Bashar Assad said on
Wednesday the Syrian army's battle with rebel forces would
determine the fate of his country, and praised soldiers for
confronting what he said were "criminal terרorist gangs".
"The fate of our people and our nation, past, present and
future, depends on this battle," Assad, who has not spoken in
public for two weeks, said in a written statement marking armed