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Syrian state TV Thursday abruptly suspended its non-news and political programming in a telling sign of how sharply the tide has turned against President Bashar Assad's regime in recent weeks.Military setbacks in and around the northwestern towns of Idlib and Jisr al-Shughur have resulted in an estimated several hundred dead and wounded regime forces from the army and paramilitary groups. While the regime has also lost territory and taken heavy casualties around the capital and in Deraa in the south in recent weeks, the main focus has been in Idlib, where a coalition of rebel and jihadi militias called the Army of Conquest has been steadily eating up territory and now threatens to move forward with attacks against the neighboring provinces of Latakia, to the west, and Hama, to the south.Still photographs of Hasan on the front lines in several parts of Syria have circulated on many occasions during the war, but this is the first known example of him on video.Hasan, known widely by his nickname the "tiger," appears agitated and, after leading a few chants of support of Assad, makes a desperate plea for ammunition from Gen. Fahd Freij, the defense minister. In one of the most powerful "political messages" of recent days, a 20-minute, slickly produced video shows a graduation ceremony for 1,700 fighters with the Islam Army rebel militia, based in the Ghouta suburbs of Damascus.
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