Syrian president says army ‘has balance of power’

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The Syrian army has scored “major victories” against rebels and now holds “the balance of power” in the conflict, President Bashar al-Assad has reportedly told a Lebanese TV station.

Mr Assad is also quoted as saying Syria has received the first shipment of an advanced Russian air defence system.

Russia vowed to go ahead with sending S-300 missiles earlier this week.

Meanwhile, the main opposition outside Syria said it would not take part in peace talks while massacres continued.

Speaking in Istanbul where the Syrian National Coalition is meeting, its interim head, George Sabra, said that talk of diplomatic conferences was farcical while Syrian government forces backed by the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah were carrying out heinous crimes.