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Syria At UN Says 'Victory Is Now Within Reach'

Syria -- Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem speaks during a press conference in the capital Damascus, November 20, 2016

A military victory in Syria's six-year civil war is "now within reach" for President Bashar al-Assad's forces following a series of battleground gains, Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem told the General Assembly of United Nations on September 23.

"The liberation of Aleppo and Palmyra, the lifting of the seige of Deir Ezzor and the eradication of terrorism from many parts of Syria prove that victory is now within reach," Muallem said.

Muallem, who also holds the rank of deputy prime minister in Bashar al-Assad's government, said Syrian government forces will be remembered as heroes for their role in the war.

"When this unjust war in Syria is over, the Syrian army will go down in history as the army that heroically defeated, along with its supported forces and its allies, the terrorists that came to Syria from many countries," he said.

Assad's troops have been accused by western powers and rights groups of carrying out atrocities, targeting civilians and using banned chemical weapons, an accusation that Muallem again rejected in his address.

More than 330,000 people have died in the war and more than 5 million Syrians have fled across borders to become refugees.

The United Nations is planning a new round of peace negotiations in the coming weeks between Syria's government and the opposition. Past rounds of talks have failed to yield more than incremental progress.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP