Assad admits Syrian land given up by overstretched army

In his first public speech in a year, Syrian President Bashar Assad admitted giving up “critical areas” of his country out of “concern for our soldiers…”  In a televised speech Sunday to local dignitaries in Damascus, he stressed: “We are steadfast and will achieve victory.” Assad spoke shortly after Turkey entered the war on the Islamic State with air strikes over northern Syria and a Syrian army which is seriously overstretched. The Syrian government has announced another general amnesty for thousands of army deserters and young men who have joined the rebels fighting to topple him.
 

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