January 10, 2012
Syria’s embattled president, Bashar al-Assad, yesterday blamed “foreign conspiracies” supported by Arab states for the crisis in his country and promised to crack down on terrorism with “an iron fist”.
Assad’s third major speech since the Syrian uprising began in March combined defiance with talk of continuing and future reforms in the country and praise for state security forces who were fighting what he called terrorism.
“We cannot relent in the battle against terrorism,” he said. “We strike with an iron fist against terrorists who have been brainwashed.”
The speech gave no hint of any flexibility that could break the bloody deadlock between his regime and popular opposition that has seen thousands of people die in the last 10 months.