BEIRUT (AP) — There's some tough talk today from Syria's government toward the rebels, just days after President Bashar Assad conceded that his forces are having trouble putting down the rebellion.
The country's information minister has told reporters that there will be no dialogue with the opposition before the army crushes the rebels.
It's the latest sign that President Bashar Assad is determined to solve the crisis on the battlefield, even if many more of his people have to pay with their lives.
The information minister said, "There will be no dialogue with the opposition prior to the Syrian army's imposition of security and stability in all parts of the country."
An opposition figure who is based in Britain is responding to the comments by saying that "the key to any dialogue will be the departure of Assad" -- and the dismantling of his security agencies.
Earlier today, the new U.N. envoy to Syria acknowledged that brokering an end to the civil war will be a "very, very difficult" task.
203-r-38-(Sound purported to be shelling in the Syrian city of Rastan, in Homs province, from the amateur video supplier UGARIT NEWS)--Sound from amateur video purported to be shelling in the rebel-held Syrian town of Rastan. The video purportedly showed buildings in the city suffering direct hits by government shells and large plumes of smoke billowing into the sky. ((The AP cannot independently verify the authenticity of this sound.)) (3 Sep 2012)
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174-c-09-(Bassem Mroue (BAH'-sehm MROOH'-eh), AP correspondent)-"least 18 people"-AP correspondent Bassem Mroue reports regime warplanes have hit the town of al-Bab in northern Syria. (3 Sep 2012)
<<CUT *174 (09/03/12)>> 00:09 "least 18 people"
173-c-13-(Bassem Mroue (BAH'-sehm MROOH'-eh), AP correspondent)-"in different cities"-AP correspondent Bassem Mroue reports that major clashes between regime and opposition forces continue across Syria. (3 Sep 2012)
<<CUT *173 (09/03/12)>> 00:13 "in different cities"
175-c-13-(Bassem Mroue (BAH'-sehm MROOH'-eh), AP correspondent)-"looking for survivors"-AP correspondent Bassem Mroue reports that while some in the opposition say 18 people died in today's Syrian warplane attack on al-Bab, others think many more people were killed. (3 Sep 2012)
<<CUT *175 (09/03/12)>> 00:13 "looking for survivors"
APPHOTO XMM103: A Syrian woman, reacts while looking at the rubble of a house, destroyed from Syrian forces shelling early Monday, in the Syrian town of Azaz, on the outskirts of Aleppo, Monday, Sept. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen) (3 Sep 2012)
<<APPHOTO XMM103 (09/03/12)>>