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Report: Assad vows help on POWs

Syria’s president reportedly pledged to help secure the release of three captive Israeli soldiers. The London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported Thursday that Bashar Assad made the pledge this week during talks with Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the visiting speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Syria wields considerable influence over Hezbollah, which is holding Israeli soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, as well as Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip who have another soldier, Gilad Shalit. According to the newspaper, Assad told Pelosi he would “exert every effort” to have the soldiers’ captors finalize deals on a prisoner swap with Israel. Syrian and U.S. officials had no immediate comment on the report.