Moscow, Jan 29 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The conflict in Syria can be over in two weeks if foreign fighters and weapons stop trickling in through the border with Turkey, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said.
According to the Al-Akhbar daily in Beirut, Assad made the statement at a meeting with "a group of visitors from the Arab states" in Damascus Monday.
The president informed the visitors about the present situation in Syria during the meeting, which lasted for three hours.
The daily gave no information about the visitors' identities or nationalities.
The paper quoted Assad as saying that the Syrian army has recently dealt a number of serious blows to armed groups financed from abroad and that "the most difficult stage of the crisis has been left behind".
"Militant groups mostly operate in regions bordering Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and some suburbs of Damascus. The Syrian capital itself, including the road to the international airport, is safe," the president said.
Assad also thanked Russia for its support, saying that "by supporting Syria, Russia defends itself, not the (Syrian) regime".