Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has warned that the conflict between rebels and government forces across Syria, will decide the fate of the nation.
In a written statement marking armed forces day, he praised soldiers for confronting "armed terrorist gangs".
The anti-regime uprising has in recent weeks seen fighting on the streets of the capital Damascus and the second city Aleppo.
Activists estimate some 20,000 people have died since March last year.
The latest reports suggest fighting has broken out for the first time near two Christian areas in the Old City of Damascus.
Assad has not spoken in public for two weeks, but issued a statement to mark armed forces day.
The statement said and I quote: "The fate of our people and our nation, past, present and future, depends on this battle," Unquote.