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In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad delivers a speech at Damascus University, in Damascus, Syria, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. Assad said Tuesday he will not step down, insisting that he still has his people's support despite a 10-month-old uprising against him. In his fourth speech since the Syrian revolt began in March, Assad also lashed out at the Arab League and accused the Cairo-based bloc of failing to protect Arab interests. The president has made few public appearances since the anti-government uprising began in March, inspired by the revolutions sweeping the Arab world. The regime's crackdown on dissent has killed thousands and led to international isolation and sanctions.

BEIRUT — Syrian activists have reported fresh violence as a former Arab League observer tells Al-Jazeera that the mission is a "farce."

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said soldiers and army defectors were fighting Wednesday in central Hama province. There was no immediate word on casualties.

Arab League observers are inside the country to assess whether the government is abiding by its agreement to a plan to end the 10-month-old military crackdown on dissent.

Al-Jazeera TV is airing an interview with a man they identify as former observer Anwer Malek. He says the mission is a farce and "the observers have been fooled."

He says the regime is trying to deceive the mission about their crackdown.