President Bashar al-Assad has blamed ‘conspirators’ bent on destroying Syria for pro-democracy protests in the country.
He was given a rapturous reception outside and inside parliament in Damascus, the day after a government-organised show of mass support.
Despite speculation, there was no announcement about lifting Syria’s emergency laws in Assad’s first public speech since the challenge to his rule began.
Instead, two weeks on, he explained that Syria was the target of a plot to sow sectarian strife.
The president said some demonstrators had legitimate demands. And he claimed clear instructions had been given to security forces not to harm anyone during the protests in which dozens of people have died.
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