Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said that he intends to retake "the whole country" from rebel forces. In a rare interview, he told AFP news agency that defeating the groups ranged against him could take some time due to the involvement of regional powers. World powers have agreed to push for a cessation of hostilities in a week's time. The UN says it hopes to start delivering aid to some besieged areas in Syria within the next 24 hours. Assad expressed support for peace talks but said negotiations did not mean "we stop fighting terrorism." More than 250,000 people have been killed and some 11 million displaced in almost five years of fighting in Syria.
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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.