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REUTERS, AL ARABIYA (Saudi Arabia), AL JAZEERA (Qatar)

DAMASCUS - Gunmen attacked the pro-Assad television headquarters in Syria on Wednesday morning, detonating bombs and shooting three employees dead, Reuters reports. The Syrian Minister of Information gave a higher death toll for the attack, saying that seven people were killed and that others were injured or kidnapped, according to Al Jazeera.

The rebel attack on the private Ikhbariya station south of the capital city Damascus came hours after President Bashar al-Assad declared for the first time that Syria was in a state of "war."

On Tuesday evening Bashar al-Assad told his newly appointed cabinet that Syria was in a "real state of war," denouncing the West's role in the conflict. "When we are in a war, all policies and all sides and all sectors need to be directed at winning this war," said Assad in the speech, which was also broadcast on state television.

Further dampening hopes for a peaceful resolution to the conflict, a report from U.N. investigators delivered to the U.N. Human Rights Council on Wednesday found sectarian violence was on the rise, according to Al Arabiya.

"Where previously victims were targeted on the basis of their being pro- or anti-government, the Commission of Inquiry has recorded a growing number of incidents where victims appear to have been targeted because of their religious affiliation," said the report, which also worried about the rebels' use of children "as medical porters, messengers and cooks, exposing them to risk of death and injury."

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Ukraine Is Turning Into A "New Israel" — Where Everyone Is A Soldier

From businessmen to farmers, Ukrainian society has been militarizing for the past six months to defend its sovereignty. In the future it may find itself like Israel, permanently armed to protect its sovereignty.

Ukrainian civilians learn how to shoot and other military skills at a shooting range in Lviv on July 30, 2022.

Guillaume Ptak

KYIV — The war in Ukraine has reached a turning point. Vladimir Putin's army has suffered its worst setback since the beginning of the invasion. The Russian army has experienced a counter-offensive that many experts consider masterful, so it must retreat and cede vast territories to its opponent.

The lightning victory that the head of the Kremlin had dreamed of never took place. The losses are considerable — Ukrainian troops on the battlefield now outnumber the Russians.

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On April 5, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky predicted that at the end of the conflict, Ukraine would become a "big Israel". In an interview with Ukrainian media, he said then, "In all the institutions, supermarkets, cinemas, there will be people with weapons."

The problem of national security will be the country's most important one in the next decade. An "absolutely liberal, and European" society would therefore no longer be on the agenda, according to the Ukrainian president.

Having long since swapped his suit and tie for a jacket or a khaki T-shirt during his public appearances, Zelensky has undeniably become one of the symbols of this growing militarization of Ukrainian society. However, the president claimed that Ukraine would not become an "authoritarian" regime: "An authoritarian state would lose to Russia. Ukrainians know what they are fighting for."

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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