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Assad says Syria at war as battle reaches Damascus

EDITOR'S NOTE: CONTAINS AMATEUR VIDEO THAT CANNOT BE INDEPENDENTLY VERIFIED BY REUTERS - VIDEO HAS BEEN OBTAINED FROM A SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITE Delivering a speech directed at his new government on state television, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said his country was in "a real state of war" on Tuesday. SOUNDBITE Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "We are living in a state of real war from all angles. When we live in such a situation, all policies and all sides and all sectors need to be directed at winning this war." Assad's change of rhetoric came on one of the deadliest days of the 16-month conflict. Amateur video that could not be independently verified by Reuters shows heavy gunfire and explosions outside of Damascus. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights - a group that compiles rebels' reports - said 115 people were killed during the day. Syria had said rebels had blocked the road from Damascus to Beirut. Earlier in the day, the former leader of the Syrian opposition group - the Syrian National Council - returned to the city of Idlib. Amateur video purportedly showed Burhan Ghalioun - who was in exile in Paris - returning to the Syrian city. He is the most senior Syrian opposition figure to enter Syria since the uprising began last year. Sarah Irwin, Reuters.

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