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Rebels strengthen position as NATO predicts fall of regime.
The head of Syria's newly-created opposition coalition told Reuters Thursday their fighters do not need outside help toppling President Bashar al-Assad, amid growing speculation that the leader's regime is on the verge of collapse.
More from GlobalPost: Russian officials say opposition may win in Syria
“Now the Syrian people have nothing to lose," National Coalition leader Mouaz al-Khatib told Reuters today. "They handled their problems by themselves. They no longer need international forces to protect them. The international community has been in a slumber, silent and late [to react] as it saw the Syrian people bleeding and their children killed for the past 20 months."
The new Syrian coalition has been recognized by 114 countries as the legitimate voice of the opposition, but it was not immediately clear what sort of military support the coalition leader had in mind. NPR on Wednesday cited unnamed sources alleging that the US and Britain have been working with Jordan to provide Syrian rebels with high-tech anti-aircraft weapon training.
Opposition leader al-Khatib's comments add to growing belief that Assad is on his way out, after trying to quash months of rebellion against his rule. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday the regime is "approaching collapse," adding, "it is only a question of time,” according to Al-Arabiya.
Also on Thursday, Russia admitted for the first time that Assad might lose in Syria.
"Unfortunately, the victory of the Syrian opposition cannot be excluded," The Telegraph quoted Russia's deputy foreign minister as saying, a sign that Moscow may be revamping its mideast policy in the face of losing a main ally.
On Wednesday, US officials raised concerns that Assad had resorted to using scud missiles against his own people.
Fighting between regime forces and the armed rebellion in Syria has taken over 40,000 lives and caused hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homeland.