Syrian defense minister: Rebellion will be crushed

Associated Press
Syrians carry a rebel injured during fighting with the Syrian army in the Syrian town of Tel Abyad, to the Turkish city of Akcakale on the Turkey-Syria border Friday, Oct. 5, 2012. Turkey's state-run news agency says Turkish troops have returned fire after a mortar shell from Syria again landed on its territory. Turkish artillery has fired at Syrian targets for two straight days after shelling from Syria killed five civilians in Turkey.  (AP Photo)
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BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's defense minister says the rebellion against President Bashar Assad's regime will be crushed.

Gen. Fahd Jassem al-Freij told state-run Syrian TV on Saturday that violence in the country will end soon, as troops are determined to bring back stability.

Al-Freij rarely makes public statements. His remarks came as Syrian troops launched a major offensive to retake rebel-held areas in the northern city of Aleppo and the central city of Homs.

In comments marking the anniversary of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, al-Freij said the government is ready to give amnesty to rebels who "repent."

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