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Free Syrian Army militants clean their weapons and check ammunition at their base on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria. (Khalil Hamra/AP)

Free Syrian Army militants clean their weapons and check ammunition at their base on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria. (Khalil Hamra/AP)

FILE – In this Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012 file photo, Free Syrian Army fighters clean their weapons and check ammunition at their base on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria. President Barack Obama said early on in the 2 1/2-year-old conflict that Assad lost the right to lead because of the brutal oppression of his people, most chillingly displayed in what Washington contends was an Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack on rebel-held areas that killed hundreds of civilians. But it’s not clear who would replace Assad if he were to be driven from power, either as a result of U.S. punitive strikes for the suspected poison gas attacks or in eventual political transition talks with the Western-backed opposition. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra, File)

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