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      Assad: The Situation is 'Improving'

      Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in special interview to Syrian television: The situation is improving but it will take time.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 8/29/2012, 6:16 AM

      Syrian President Bashar Assad
      Syrian President Bashar Assad
      Flash 90

      Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday gave a special interview to Syrian television, in which he claimed that the situation in the torn country is improving. The full interview with Assad will be broadcast on Wednesday but excerpts were made public on Tuesday evening.

      Assad said that it will take some time until the military campaign in the country is completed, adding that the regime is making progress and the improvement can already be felt.

      “We are in the midst of a global and regional war,” said Assad, “so it is no wonder that it takes a long time to finish it.”

      He added, “This entire explanation can be summarized by saying that we are making progress. The situation is actually better, but we have yet to resolve it. That takes time.”

      Assad’s remarks come as the 18-month-old civil war in the country continues to claim more and more victims.

      On Monday, Syrian rebels showed a video of a Russian-made Syrian army chopper in flames after it was hit over Damascus. It dived into the ground amid shouts of “Allah is Great."

      Last week, rebels said they shot down another helicopter, providing indications that they have acquired anti-aircraft weapons and surface-to-air missiles as the bloody and savage civil war drags on and the number of massacres rises.

      Over the weekend, the Syrian army was accused of committing a massacre in the town of Darya, outside the capital Damascus, when 300 bodies were found on Saturday.

      On Monday, the president of France formally asked the Syrian opposition to form a provisional government.

      “France asks the Syrian opposition to form a provisional government – inclusive and representative – that can become the legitimate representative of the new Syria,” President Francois Hollande announced in an address at the presidential palace to a group of new French ambassadors.

      Meanwhile, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi called on allies of Syria to help replace the Assad regime in order to stop the bloodshed that has claimed the lives of thousands of people.

      Morsi made the comments during an interview with the Reuters news agency, his first interview with an international media outlet since he was elected. He stressed that Russia and China, countries that have so far resisted international intervention in Syria, should support the “ordinary Syrian citizens.”

      An official with the Muslim Brotherhood said on Monday that Morsi’s upcoming visit to Tehran is aimed at pressuring Iran to stop supporting Assad.