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Refugee flow soars as Syrians flee intense fighting between rebels, Assad forces

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Courtesy of Muhammad Najdat Qadour/Shaam News Network/Reuters

(Read caption) Residents flee their homes after a shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad at Binsh near Idlib, Syria, Thursday, November 8.

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As the ongoing violence in Syria nears its 21st month, the United Nations warns that by early 2013 some 4 million people in Syria will be in need of humanitarian aid. But as international organizations, world leaders, and Syria’s opposition groups point urgently to the bloodshed and rising death toll in Syria, President Bashar al-Assad is ignoring calls for him to step down.

In an interview with Russia’s RT TV, Mr. Assad said Syria isn’t facing a civil war, but “terrorism by proxy.”

“It is not about reconciling with the people and it is not about reconciliation between the Syrians and the Syrians; we do not have a civil war. It is about terrorism and the support coming from abroad to terrorists to destabilize Syria. This is our war,” Assad said in the interview, which aired in full today.

There have been reports of Al Qaeda affiliates  joining in to fight the regime in Syria, reports The Christian Science Monitor, something that has raised concerns about offering arms to those battling Assad.  

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