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Assad mobbed at rally

In a rare public appearance, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad re-declares war on his foes. With the death toll more than 60,000 in the fight between government forces and rebels, Assad remained defiant as he spoke to supporters at a Damascus opera house Sunday. "We are now in a state of war in every sense of the word. We are now confronting a vicious, external war," he said, repeating familiar accusations of terrorism and blaming foreign interference for the conflict. He also thanked his few remaining allies - Russia, China and Iran - for respecting Syria's sovereignty. "Revolutions are based upon knowledge and thought, not ignorance. A revolution is based upon boosting the nation forward, not bringing it back centuries," he added. International diplomatic efforts have repeatedly failed to bring compromise. The Syrian president said his government has always been open to dialogue but only with peaceful opponents. Following his nearly hour-long speech, the audience swarmed the president, chanting "God, Syria and Bashar is enough!"

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