Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has told Islamic leaders that the army is protecting the nation.
Syrian TV showed him hosting a meal on Thursday to mark the end of the fasting day during the holy month of Ramadan.
He also told the clerics that the crisis in the country is a question of morals. Some of those present were from the city of Hama which has been a focal point for the uprising.
On the same day, the UN Security Council received a critical briefing on the situation in Syria from Lynn Pascoe, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs.
“President Assad remained silent on the violence committed against civilians, continuing to blame the violence on armed attacks on the army, police, and security posts,” he said. “However, the failure to reign in security forces undermines the credibility of such announcements and the international community has remained quite sceptical”.
Human rights observers claim that the prominent cartoonist and Assad critic Ali Ferzat has been beaten up in Damascus by armed men and then dumped in the street. He was taken to hospital, suffering bruises to his face and hands.
The UN says over 2,200 people have died since the uprising started in March.