This image made from video broadcast on Press TV, Iran's English language state-run channel shows Syrian President Bashar Assad delivering a speech in Damascus, Syria, Sunday, July 26, 2015. (Press TV via AP video)
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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Sunday the army had been forced to give up areas in order to hold onto more important ones in its fight with insurgents, and the scale of the war meant the military faced a manpower shortage.In a remarkably frank assessment of the strains afflicting the Syrian military after more than four years of conflict, Assad said the type of war confronting Syria meant the army could not fight everywhere for risk of losing vital ground.Syria is in a war funded by the richest and most powerful states, he said.Assad said an amnesty announced yesterday for men at home and abroad who have dodged military service would encourage thousands of conscripts who wanted to join the army but held back because of penalities slapped on them.Western officials have said the military pressure on Assad could pave the way to a political deal that would see Assad step down as demanded by the United States and other Western states.Syria's conflict began as a street uprising against four decades of authoritarian rule by the Assad family.
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