DAMASCUS, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Syria's state media on Tuesday rubbished as unfounded media reports that the Syrian army has declared a state of general mobilization.
While denying the reports of general alert circulating on some anti-Syrian government Arab TVs, the state TV said "joining the military service is a sacred duty."
"Our valiant troops are on the highest readiness and ability to defend the security of the homeland and citizens from terrorism," according to a statement carried out by the state TV.
The controversy about a possible declaration of general mobilization has started since Friday, when Syria's prominent Sheikh Said Ramadan al-Bouti called on the country's grand Mufti to declare the general alert.
On Sunday, Syria's Supreme Iftaa Council, the highest clergy council in the country, issued a statement calling on the Syrian public to support the Syrian army and the youth to join the service to defend the country, the heritage and religion from what the statement branded as the enemies wanting to rip the country in pieces.
The state media clarified in its statement that the Iftaa Council's statement was about the regular obligatory service not mobilization.
Earlier in the day, the pro-government al-Watan newspaper cited sources as saying that the Syrian army "is so well," noting however that the citizens should start to take part in defending their areas.
"The Syrian army has enough manpower and equipment for many years to come in the war to defend Syria," the source was cited by the paper as saying, stressing, however, that "this doesn't mean that Syrians should only be confined to watch the news of battles without taking part each according to his ability."
While the idea of general mobilization does not seem sound in the midst of the conflict that has been ripping Syria apart, such move needs to be announced by the president himself to take effect.
Such an idea has come as the Syrian troops have become stretched out in urban battles in several cities as part of the war of attrition that the West-backed rebels have been waging.
Armed local committees have also been formed over the past months from local people who want to defend their areas against possible rebels' attacks. Yet, most of those committees were set up in areas of minorities who fear the threat of the radical Sunni rebels, particularly with the rising of al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front that has become the striking rebel force against the government troops.
A recent UN report has warned that the conflict in Syria "is becoming more sectarian," a claim which is totally rejected by the Syrian government.
DAMASCUS, March 12 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army has enough manpower and equipment to defend the country for many years to come, a pro-government paper cited an official source as saying Tuesday, noting however that the citizens should start to take part in defending their areas.
Quoting well informed sources, al-Watan stressed that the Syrian army's condition is very well. "The Syrian army has enough manpower and equipment for many years to come in the war to defend Syria," the source was cited by the paper as saying, noting however that "this doesn't mean that Syrians should only be confined to watch the news of battles without taking part each according to his ability." Full story
BEIJING, March 12 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) reaffirmed on Monday that the only solution to the Syrian crisis is a political one, while Russia also voiced its hope for a political settlement despite obstacles.
In Brussels, the EU's foreign ministers discussed the situation in Syria with Lakhdar Brahimi, UN and Arab League special representative for Syria. Full story