At Least Four Killed as Militants Shell Damascus Int'l Fair

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The alert was removed shortly afterwards, and a reporter broadcasting live from the fair interviewed several officials who made no mention of the rocket fire or casualties.

The government has sought to present the country as slowly returning to normalcy after six years of war.

Many countries have ceased calling for him to step down.

The Damascus International Fair being held in the southern outskirts of the capital was opened last week for the first time since the summer of 2011, only months after countrywide unrest erupted.

Speaking before dozens of Syrian diplomats in Damascus, Assad praised Russia, Iran, China and Lebanon's Hezbollah for supporting his government during the conflict.

"There will be no security cooperation or opening of embassies, nor a role for certain States that say they want to find a solution (to the war in Syria) as long as they have not cut their links explicitly with terrorism", said Mr. Assad in a speech broadcast by State television.

Bill Gates makes some big moves, donating $4.6 billion and joining Instagram
Also, Gates' ownership of Microsoft shares have dipped below 2 percent for the first time, he now owns about 1.3 percent. Gates has probably directed more than 700 million shares of Microsoft into the foundation, adjusting for stock splits.

In the early years of the conflict, many Western and Arab countries called on Mr Assad to step down, and both the United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions on his government. The conflict has since killed an estimated 400,000 people and displaced half the country's population.

The France has from the beginning been one of the supports, the strongest of the syrian opposition and has always called for the departure of Mr. Assad, considered the main responsible for the conflict.

But after the Islamic State group declared a caliphate in large parts of Syria and Iraq, the worldwide focus turned to crushing the extremists, who have planned attacks around the world that killed and wounded hundreds of people.

"We were preparing to receive visitors when I heard an explosion. then I saw smoke so the side of the of the entrance to the exhibition hall", said Iyad Jaber, 39, a Syrian working at a textile stand.

Al-Assad said Syria remains committed to fighting Israeli occupation of Syrian territory and continues to be a perennial supporter of Palestinians.

The government in Damascus touts the reopening of the gathering after a six-year delay as a sign of life getting back to normal in Syria.

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