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Rebel Defiance, Relief as Assad Forces Get Bogged Down

At early light they come, the Russian warplanes - mostly just silver flashes in the sky, sometimes roaringly close - unleashing "dumb" munitions and guided missiles depending on the target, scorching the countryside south of Aleppo. They are followed by mechanized units of the Syrian army backed by Iranian-trained Shi'ite fighters mainly from Iraq, but some Afghans, too, who will be rewarded with Iranian passports when their enlistment finishes, if they survive. In the...

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