Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, wearing a watch featuring a portrait of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, attends an interview with Reuters in Damascus June 11, 2015. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
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The Syrian government says it has come through worse phases in the 4-year-old conflict than the latest advances by insurgents across the country and is confident its army can hit back with the help of its allies.In an interview with Reuters in Damascus, Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad acknowledged insurgent gains, blaming support from Damascus' enemies Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.Damascus was not vulnerable, as it frequently had been during the first two years of the crisis.Damascus does indeed feel safer than it did two years ago, with a reduced security presence in the streets. But the relative security in the capital has been accompanied by government losses in other parts of Syria in recent months.Last year saw the United States enter the conflict with airstrikes against ISIS, one of Assad's most powerful foes.Western countries have denied coordinating the air campaign against ISIS with Damascus.
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