Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s speech was watched closely beyond the country’s borders.
In Turkey, prominent Syrian dissident and former judge Haitham al-Maleh thought the content could not be taken seriously.
“His speech is made up of propaganda and lies,” he said. “He wants to say to the international community and to the Arab community that he is good and he is going to change but he will not. He is not going to do anything.”
Also in Istanbul, there was condemnation from the largest opposition group, the Syrian National Council.
Its leader Burhan Ghalioun wants tougher international action, saying the group would ask the Arab League to refer Syria to the UN Security Council.
Reaction domestically will also be important for President Assad amid warnings, notably from Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, that Syria is heading for civil war.