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ADDOUNIA TV (Syria), AL ARABIYA (UAE), LE MONDE (France)

Worldcrunch

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the situation in Syria is getting "better," although his government needs more time to "win the battle" against rebels trying to overthrow him.

Al-Assad was speaking in an exclusive interview with the Syrian pro-government TV station Addounia, which will be broadcast Wednesday night; however, excerpts were released this morning (with English subtitles):

Attempting to quell rumors of his whereabouts since the July bombing that killed four of his top regime officials, Assad asserted he was speaking from the presidential palace in Damascus.

Assad also dismissed the prospect of a UN-sanctioned no-fly zone: "It will not happen and even the foreign countries that are against us know it's not possible."

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and France’s President François Hollande are spearheading the proposal for a buffer zone.

Hollande declared Monday that he would recognize a provisional Syrian government as soon as it has been established, and urged rebel leaders to try to do so, reports Le Monde.

Al-Assad's comments come as fighting continues in Damascus and Syria's second-city Aleppo. Opposition groups on Tuesday told reporters they had found up to 400 bodies in the town of Daraya, Al Arabiya reports, in what appears to be the worst massacre since fighting broke out in the country 17 months ago. The Syrian government is in-turn blaming rebels and terrorists for carrying out the massacre.

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China

How China's Mass Protest Took The World By Surprise — And Where It Will End

China is facing its biggest political protests in decades as frustration grows with its harsh Zero-COVID strategy. However, the real reasons for the protests run much deeper. Could it be the starting point for a new civic movement?

Photo of police during protests in China against covid-19 restrictions

Security measures during a protest against COVID-19 restrictions

Changren Zheng

In just one weekend, protests spread across China. A fire in an apartment block in Urumqi in China’s western Xinjiang region killed 10, with many blaming lockdown rules for the deaths. Anti-lockdown demonstrations spread to Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Chengdu and other cities. University students from more than half of China's provinces organized various protests against COVID restrictions.

Why and how did the movement spread so rapidly?

At the core, protesters are unhappy with President Xi Jinping's three-year-long Zero-COVID strategy that has meant mass testing, harsh lockdowns, and digital tracking. Yet, the general belief about the Chinese people was that they lacked the awareness and experience for mass political action. Even though discontent had been growing about the Zero-COVID strategy, no one expected these protests.

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