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Free Syrian Army attacks Damascus

Syrian rebels have struck at the heart of Damscus, firing grenades at the ruling Ba’ath party’s headquarters.

The attack in the capital city caused little damage to the building but was a hugely symbolic blow to President Assad’s regime, in a sign that the rebel army was growing in confidence and support.

One witness said,

"The attack was just before dawn and the building was mostly empty. It seems to have been intended as a message to the regime."

Assad remained defiant however, insisting that “Syria will not bow down” to international pressure.

In an interview he said,

"The only way is to search for the armed people, chase the armed gangs, prevent the entry of arms and weapons from neighbouring countries, prevent sabotage and enforce law and order."

The remarks follow the Arab League rejecting Syria’s attempts to redefine the terms of an international observer mission. A statement released by the Arab League said,

"The additions requested by the Syrian counterpart affect the heart of the protocol and fundamentally change the nature of the mission."

Omar Idilbi of the Syrian National Council told reporters that the move by the Syrian regime should come as no surprise.

"We have warned in the past and we warn again that these are the methods of the regime to waste time.This is an attempt by the regime to gain more time."

A three day deadline set by the Arab League for Syria to agree to a deal and start talks with the opposition has now expired.

A Western diplomat told the Financial Times,

“The game is over.”

See our earlier posts:

Hague to meet Syrian rebels in London (Nov 2011)

Arab League issues ultimatum, as Free Syrian Army vows to defend protesters (Nov 2011)

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