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Revolt to ouster President Assad is over, says Syrian official

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March 11: Smoke rises as Idlib city is shelled by government forces. Activists said at least four people were killed in Idlib on Sunday after troops and tanks moved in a day earlier.Reuters

The violent year-long uprising that aimed to remove President Bashar al-Assad from power in Syria has ended, a country's spokesman said, Reuters reported.

"The battle to topple the state is over," Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad al-Makdissi told Syria TV, according to the report. "Our goal now is to ensure stability and create a perspective for reform and development in Syria while preventing others from sabotaging the path of reform."

He added that the presence of Syrian Army soldiers in cities was "for defensive purposes ... to protect the civilians."

"Once peace and security prevail, the army is to pull out," he was quoted as saying by the SANA news agency.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Syria on Friday to protest against what they see as the inaction of Arab governments in the face of the Syrian regime's crackdown, which the UN says has claimed more than 9,000 lives.

Makdissi’s remarks come after a series of victories for the Syrian army in the cities of Hama, Homs and Idlib, which were former rebel strongholds, the report said. Foreign countries also do not appear ready to commit to the rebels either militarily or provide firepower.

International envoy Kofi Annan called on Assad to immediately implement a six-point plan for peace.

"I can't tell you what the next steps will be if they don't stop now," a spokesman for Annan said, adding that the envoy was due to brief the UN Security Council on Monday and "we will take it from there."

The plan has yet to be accepted by both sides.

Newscore contributed to this report.