Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stressed on Thursday that Syria has succeeded in overcoming the pressures and challenges which it has been facing over years and is able to get out of this crisis that has been going on since March 2011. He made this comment during a meeting with the Iranian President's special envoy in Damascus, according to the official SANA news agency.
For his part, the Iranian president's special envoy conveyed to President al-Assad a letter from Presidentof Iran including an invitation to attend the conference of the Non-Aligned Movement countries due to be held in Tehran next September, Almanar TV reported.
On the ground, Syrian government troops shelled relentlessly the rebellious city of Rastane in the center of the country. This city, surrounded by the army and almost emptied of its inhabitants, escaped for several months from government control.
Elsewhere, a civilian was killed in the region of Aleppo by firing from government forces and another died in Qousseir, in the province of Homs after being shot by a sniper.
On Tuesday, 26 people including 14 civilians and 12 soldiers were killed in the violence, despite the presence of some 270 U.N. observers. They failed to enforce the truce called by the peace plan of international envoyon April 12.
In related news, Burhan Ghalioun, president of the Syrian National Council (SNC), the main opposition coalition, resigned and his resignation was accepted. However, the SNC leadership asked him to continue his duties until the election of a new president at a meeting scheduled for June 9-10. Ghalioun was re-elected in mid-May, but threatened to resign following criticism against him from inside the SNC.
The SNC also said that in light of "Syrian regime's refusal to respond to the Annan plan and the continued bombing and killing, the Council considers that this refusal is a deliberate attempt to derail the plan" and called "the international community to act urgently to adopt a new mechanism, through the Security Council to compel the Syrian regime to end its crimes." The statement was delivered following the end of a two-day meeting in Istanbul.