The civil war raging in Syria targets not only Damascus, but the entire “Axis of Resistance,” Syrian President Bashar Assad said on Wednesday, referring to the anti-Israel alliance including Syria, Iran, and the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah.

“The ongoing battle is targeting the whole of the resistance axis, not just Syria,” Assad was quoted by AFP as saying during a meeting with Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, who was on an official visit in Damascus.

“Syria has shown openness in dealing with all initiatives put forward to find a solution to the crisis,” Assad added. “The key to any initiative’s success is the sincerity of the intentions behind it.”

Earlier Wednesday, a defected general formerly in charge of the country’s massive chemical weapon stockpile said Assad’s regime drew up plans to transfer chemical weapons to Hezbollah.

The 18-month conflict between the regime of Assad and his opponents began with peaceful protests that were attacked by government security forces, and has since evolved into a civil war. Activists say at least 23,000 people have died, many of them civilians who fell victim to the regime onslaught, although rebel factions have also been accused of summary executions and other abuses.

The Local Coordination Committees in Syria reported that over 128 people were killed across the country on Wednesday.

Assad’s regime, which has been subject to international condemnation, said it is battling terrorism led by foreign fighters.

Associated Press contributed to this report.