FILE - In this Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 file photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad gestures speaks at the Opera House in central Damascus, Syria. Despite major defections and the loss of significant territory to rebels, the Syrian military remains a potent force against a poorly armed opposition. President Bashar Assad's inner circle has largely remained cohesive and united, avoiding high-level defections that sapped the strength of other regimes, such as Moammar Gadhafi's in Libya, during Arab Spring uprisings. (AP Photo/SANA, File)
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