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— Syria’s state media said Monday that government troops repulsed a rebel attack on a police school in the northern city of Aleppo, one day after President Bashar Assad called on Syrians to fight an opposition driven by what he characterized as religious extremists.

The official SANA news agency said regime forces killed and wounded members of a “terrorist group” in the fighting late Sunday, but did provide a number.

The government and the pro-regime media refer to the rebels seeking to topple Assad as terrorists.

Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and a former commercial hub, has been a major front in the civil war since July, with battles often raging for control of military and security facilities such as the police school. Rebels have recently made gains around Aleppo, as well as in the east and in the capital, Damascus, drawing the civil war closer to the seat of Assad’s power.

In his speech Sunday, Assad sketched out terms for a peace plan but dismissed any chance of dialogue with the armed opposition, labeling them “murderous criminals” who he said were responsible for nearly two years of violence. Nearly 60,000 people have died, according to a recent United Nations estimate.

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