Syria’s vice president says there can be no winners in civil war

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Syrian vice-president Faruq al-Sharaa has said in an interview to be published today that neither his government nor the rebels fighting to overthrow it are capable of a decisive victory.

“No opposition can end the battle militarily, just as the security forces and army cannot achieve a decisive conclusion,” Mr Sharaa told the pro-Damascus Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar.

“Every day that passes, we are moving further away from a military or political solution. We must position ourselves to defend Syria’s existence – we are not in a battle for an individual or a regime,” he told the newspaper, in what could be a sign of the regime being willing to compromise with those fighting it.

Meanwhile, fighting on the ground continued over the weekend, with rebels capturing the second military base in a week near the northern city of Aleppo, and Syrian warplanes blasting a Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus, killing eight people and wounding dozens, activists said.

Yarmouk, on the southern fringes of Damascus, falls within a stretch of territory running from the east to south-west of the Syrian capital from where rebels hope to storm into the main redoubt of 42 years of Assad family rule over Syria.

Syria is home to more that 500,000 Palestinian refugees, most living in Yarmouk, and both Mr Assad’s government and the mainly Sunni Muslim Syrian rebels have enlisted and armed Palestinians.

In the latest of a string of military installations to fall to the rebels, the army’s infantry college in northern Aleppo was captured on Saturday after five days of fighting, a rebel commander with the powerful Islamist Tawheed Brigade said.