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By The Associated Press

He's in a delicate position for sure.

The head of Syria's Olympic team at the London Games is choosing his words carefully to describe the ambitions of the country's athletes and the government, whose forces are bombarding his home city of Aleppo.

Baher Khayata said he was worried about his family, trapped in Aleppo during one of the most significant battles of the 17-month uprising in Syria. But he said the army is trying to "protect people and keep them safe."

Three Syrian athletes were competing on the first full day of competition in swimming, shooting and boxing Saturday. Back home, the army pounded Aleppo by helicopters to flush out rebels.

"There are two sides of the dispute," Khayata said. "One of them is fighting to seek power and the other side wants to keep the security of the country."

"I am a sportsman, not a politician. Everyone knows there are armed people and the army that is trying to protect people and keep them safe."

Barbara Surk Twitter

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