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As Death Toll Rises In Syria, Assad Says Things Are 'Better'



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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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Piercing The "Surovikin Line" — Inside The Biggest Win Of Ukraine's Counteroffensive

The area around Robotyne, in southeastern Ukraine, has been the centre of a fierce two-month battle. Ukrainian publication Livy Bereg breaks down how Ukrainian forces were able to exploit gaps in Russian defenses and push the counteroffensive forward.

photo of two soldiers advancing at daybreak

A new dawn across the front line?

Kyrylo Danylchenko

ROBOTYNE — Since the fall of 2022, Russian forces have been building a series of formidable defensive lines in Ukrainian territory, from Vasylivka in the Zaporizhzhia region to the front in Vremivka in the Donetsk region.

These defenses combined high-density minefields, redoubts (fortified structures like wooden bunkers, concrete fortifications and buried granite blocks), as well as anti-tank ditches and pillboxes. Such an extensive and intricate defensive network had not been seen in Europe since World War II.

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