|Syria's Assad speaks to embattled nation http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/01/2013160235038574.html|
President Bashar al-Assad delivers speech at the Opera House in central Damascus on "latest developments in Syria" .AÂ lighted representation theÂ Syrian flag made of photos ofÂ fallen defenders s covered the back of the stage as Assad delivered his speech. SeeÂ additional photo at bottom of page.
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2013 10:36
President Bashar al-Assad held his last public address on June 20 last year in Damascus [Reuters]
In the televised speech he spoke about theÂ "latest developments in Syria and the region"....
It was the 47-year-old leader's first speech in months and his first public comments since he dismissed suggestions that he might go into exile to end the civil war, telling Russian television in November that he would "live and die" in Syria.
Since that interview, rebels have strengthened their hold on swathes of territory across northern Syria, launched an offensive in the central province of Hama and endured weeks of bombardment byÂ the regimeÂ forces trying to dislodge them from Damascus's outer neighbourhoods.
Syria's political opposition has also won widespread international recognition. But al-Assad has continued to rely on support from Russia, China and Iran to hold firm and has used his air power to blunt rebel gains on the ground....
Al Jazeera's Nisreen El-Shamayleh, reporting from Amman in neighbouring Jordan, reported that the opposition refuses to accept any kind of solution that does not stipulate the stepping down of Assad.
Despite the estimated death toll of 60,000 announced by the United Nations earlier this week - a figure sharply higher than that given by activists - the West has shown little appetite for intervening against al-Assad in the way that NATO forces supported rebels who overthrew Libya's Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
But NATO is sending US and European Patriot surface-to-air missile batteries to the Turkish-Syrian border.
The United States military said US troops and equipment had begun arriving in Turkey on Friday for the deployment.
Germany and the Netherlands are also sending Patriot batteries, which will take weeks to deploy fully.
Turkey and NATO say the missiles are a safeguard to protect southern Turkey from possible Syrian missile strikes.
The war pits rebels mainly drawn from the Sunni Muslim majority against al-Assad, a member of the Shia-derived Alawite minority sect, whose family has ruled Syria since his father seized power in a coup in 1970.
Al-Assad's last formal speech was delivered to parliament seven months ago, in early June. "If we work together," he said, "I confirm that the end to this situation is near."...
DAMASCUS, (SANA)- President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday delivered a speech at the Opera House in Damascus in which he touched upon the latest developments in Syria and the region.
The following in the full text of President al-Assad's speech:
Al Jazeera English
Bashar al-Assad spoke from the Damsacus Opera House in Damascus, Syria.â€‚He outlined new ways for the country to move forward, but made no mention of stepping down as leader.â€‚He proposed a new constitution that he said would include new laws for the parties and local administration.â€‚He thanked Russia and China for their support of Syria and stressed that his country would do defend itself against "outside forces". The last time the Syrian President addressed the nation was in June 2012. This event was courtesy of Al Jazeera English.
- Jan 6 at 5:04 PM - C-SPAN 1Â (53 MIN)
- Jan 6 at 9:31 PM - C-SPAN 1Â (53 MIN)
- Jan 7 at 5:02 AM - C-SPAN 1Â (53 MIN)