Middle East

Neither side holds upper hand in Syria: US

File - US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki briefs the media and regarding Indian outrage over the arrest of a diplomat in New York City, from the briefing room of the US Department of State December 20, 2013, in Washington, DC. ( AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards)

WASHINGTON: The United States on Monday took issue with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's analysis that the bitter conflict was turning in his favor, saying it had become a "war of attrition."

"Our analysis remains what it has been, that this is a war of attrition and neither side has been able to deliver or hold onto significant gains," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

She told reporters that she was not "going to give ground game updates. Certainly our efforts to engage with the opposition continue."

Assad, quoted by the state news agency SANA, said Sunday that his troops were gaining the upper hand in the three-year war that has left more than 150,000 people dead.

"This is a turning point in the crisis, both militarily in terms of the army's achievements in the war against terror, and socially in terms of national reconciliation processes and growing awareness of the truth behind the (attacks) targeting the country," SANA quoted Assad as saying.

Psaki said it was only "naturally" that Assad would make such a statement.

"I don't think that's a particularly surprising comment from him, that he's winning," she added.

But she said it would be wrong to assume that the war would eventually swing in his favor.

"There is broad concern and there has been for some time about his actions. The international community is focused on this, and I don't think we're going to make a prediction of the outcome here," Psaki added.





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