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FILE - In this Sunday, April 20, 2014 file photo, released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, right, visits the Christian village of Maaloula, near Damascus, Syria. Two years ago, it seemed almost inevitable that President Bashar Assad would be toppled. Almost no one thinks that now. As he prepares for elections through which he is set to claim another seven-year mandate for himself, the momentum in the civil war is clearly in Assad's favor. (AP Photo/SANA, File)

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FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 file photo, released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian army soldiers place a national flag at a square in the Sabina suburb Syrian troops captured, south of Damascus, Syria. Two years ago, it seemed almost inevitable that President Bashar Assad would be toppled. Almost no one thinks that now. As he prepares for elections through which he is set to claim another seven-year mandate for himself, the momentum in the civil war is clearly in Assad's favor. (AP Photo/SANA, File)

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FILE - In this Wednesday, June 5, 2013 file photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian army troops hold up national flags in the town of Qusair, near the Lebanon border, Homs province, Syria. Two years ago, it seemed almost inevitable that President Bashar Assad would be toppled. Almost no one thinks that now. As he prepares for elections through which he is set to claim another seven-year mandate for himself, the momentum in the civil war is clearly in Assad's favor. (AP Photo/SANA, File)

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FILE - In this Wednesday, June 5, 2013 file photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian army troops hold up national flags in the town of Qusair, near the Lebanon border, Homs province, Syria. Two years ago, it seemed almost inevitable that President Bashar Assad would be toppled. Almost no one thinks that now. As he prepares for elections through which he is set to claim another seven-year mandate for himself, the momentum in the civil war is clearly in Assad's favor. (AP Photo/SANA, File)