Assad vows to crush Syria rebellion, cleanse country of "terrorists"
DAMASCUS (AFP) - Syria President Bashar al-Assad vowed on Tuesday to crush the 17-month rebellion against his regime and to cleanse Syria of "terrorists", as his troops engaged rebels in key battleground city Aleppo.
"The Syrian people and their government are determined to purge the country of terrorists and to fight the terrorists without respite," he was quoted by state news agency Sana as telling visiting senior Iranian envoy Saeed Jalili.
Assad had earlier appeared on television for the first time in more than two weeks in a meeting with Mr Jalili, a top aide to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Mr Jalili offered Assad his country's backing, saying Tehran would "never allow the resistance axis - of which Syria is an essential pillar - to break.