Embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad acknowledged on Sunday his troops are no longer able to defend the entire country due to a "shortage of manpower." Assad's rare speech in the capital city of Damascus follows a recent string of rebel advances and comes a day after his government declared amnesty for military deserters and draft dodgers. Government forces have been hamstrung by defections, desertions, and deaths in the four-year war that's killed more than 230,000 people. Assad, who controls less than half of Syria's pre-war territory, admitted his forces had to give up some areas in order to protect key fronts, but dismissed claims that his government was on the verge of collapse.
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