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Syrian president blames 'foreign planning' for revolt

Abu Khaled, a Syrian refugee living in the Jordanian capital, said the content of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s televised speech on Tuesday showed he had not changed his policies.
After watching the speech on television with his family in Amman, Abu Khaled said: ”It is the same speech as the one before, and the one before that. The first, the second and the third speech— they’re all the same. There is nothing new in it. We were hoping to hear something new, but there is nothing serious.

There are words, but no actions. There have been many words, but nothing been done.”
“The position (of the government) is evident from the speeches and from all the killings and torture that have taken place. For the past 10 months the Syrian people have been killed, tortured, imprisoned and detained, and despite all this, they have not acknowledged that there is a rebellion against this regime, by a people which wants to remove this regime, and wants freedom from the oppression and corruption of the regime. If things continue like this, Syria will face a bleak future,” Abu Khaled added.
Assad, speaking in public for the first time since June, on Tuesday blamed “foreign planning” for a 10-month-old popular uprising in which thousands of people have been killed and vowed to strike “terrorists with an iron fist”.

Assad also said he welcomed the idea of expanding the government to include “all political forces” and held out the prospect of a referendum in March on a new constitution for Syria.

Since the uprising began, Assad has responded with a mixture of repression and promises of reform and dialogue.

Opposition forces say the bloodshed shows the real face of a leader whose family has ruled Syria for more than four decades.
The United Nations says more than 5,000 people have been killed by security forces trying to suppress anti-Assad demonstrations that erupted in March, inspired by a wave of revolts against Arab autocrats across the Middle East.
Syrian authorities say foreign-backed armed “terrorists” have killed 2,000 members of the security forces.
The Arab League, which suspended Syria in November and announced sanctions, has sent in monitors to judge whether Damascus is complying with a peace plan calling for withdrawal of troops from cities, prisoner releases and political dialogue.