BEIRUT - Syrian President Bashar Assad said on Tuesday his country was in a real state of war and gave no sign of a softer approach towards a pro-democracy revolt by ordering his newly appointed government to direct all policies towards winning.

"We live in a real state of war from all angles," Assad told a cabinet he appointed on Tuesday. "When we are in a war, all policies and all sides and all sectors need to be directed at winning this war."

Assad snubbed countries that have been calling for him to step aside, saying the West "takes and never gives and this has been proven at every stage."

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