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Assad Says He Will Not Step Down

FILE - Syrian President Bashar Assad, Aug. 19, 2009.
FILE - Syrian President Bashar Assad, Aug. 19, 2009.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says in a newspaper interview that he will not step down before next year's elections.

Assad's comments were published Saturday in the Argentine newspaper, Clarin. They were the first about his political future since the United States and Russia agreed this month to try to bring the Syrian government and opposition together for talks about a peaceful resolution to Syria's conflict.

Washington and Moscow have backed opposite sides in the conflict.

Meanwhile, Syrian state television reported a car bomb killed at least three people and wounded five others in the capital, Damascus, Saturday. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said eight people were killed. The toll could not be independently verified.

More than 70,000 people have been killed and several million displaced since the uprising against Assad erupted in March 2011.
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