Damascus Says it Has Faced Worse Times

The Syrian government says it has weathered worse spells in the four-year-old conflict than the current advances by insurgents across the country. Syria says it's confident that its army can hit back with the help of its allies. The assessment was offered by Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad in an interview with Reuters in Damascus. It conflicts with the view of Western officials who see mounting pressure on President Bashar al-Assad from insurgent advances across Syria. An uprising which started against Assad in 2011 has evolved into a civil war in which hardline groups such as al Qaeda's Nusra Front and Islamic State have become the dominant insurgent forces.