`Istanbul meeting on Syria failed`

Despite a growing international outcry, Syrian forces are pressing on with a campaign to crush a popular uprising.

Damascus: A Syrian government newspaper on Monday said that a weekend meeting in Istanbul of what it called the "Enemies of Syria" was a failure for those seeking to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

"Despite all the hype, the conference of the `Enemies of Syria` produced only meagre results... showing it was unable to shake Syrians` rejection of foreign intervention," said Al-Baath newspaper, mouthpiece of Assad`s ruling party by the same name.

Under the headline "Another Failure”, it said "the participants will eventually recognise that the resistance of the Syrians, the (government`s pledged) reforms and the double veto by Russia and China... have allowed Syria to overcome the crisis and win the battle."

Despite a growing international outcry and numerous rounds of sanctions, Assad`s forces are pressing on with a campaign to crush a popular uprising that the UN says has killed at least 9,000 in the past year.

Russia, a Soviet era ally of the Assad regime, and China have used their veto powers against two UN Security Council resolutions condemning the crackdown.

Western and Arab nations participating in the "Friends of Syria" meeting in Istanbul called yesterday for Assad to be given a deadline to meet the terms of international peace broker Kofi Annan`s plan to end the violence. (AFP)