Syria’s Assad: army to reinforce besieged troops in northwest
Men inspect a site hit by what activists said were barrel bombs dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad at al-Ajami town in Deraa countryside May 5, 2015. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Faqir

BEIRUT: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Wednesday that armytroops would head to the outskirts of an insurgent-held town to help besieged soldiers holed up on its outskirts, and justified recent army setbacks as part of normal warfare.

Last month Islamist insurgents captured the town of Jisr al-Shughour in Syria’s Idlib province, edging closer to the government-held heartland of Latakia along the coast.

He was speaking at an event to commemorate martyrs at a school in an undisclosed location. In a rare public appearance, he was surrounded by crowds of people who chanted in support.

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