Scott: It was the first time in seven months that the people of Syria heard from their president, Bashar al-Assad. And yesterday, he defiantly spoke out against the bloody civil war that has torn his nation apart.
There had been hope that in his speech Assad would offer up a compromise – something to finally break the violent deadlock between the government armies and the rebels trying to force Assad out.
According to the United Nations, that brutal standoff has now killed at least sixty thousand people – nearly double recent estimates.
But in a hall filled with his supporters Sunday, Assad showed no signs of backing down.
‘We are now in a state of war in every sense of the word,’ he said. ‘We are now confronting a vicious external war.’
“External war” is a phrase Assad chose carefully to try to send the world a message.
He described the rebels as “puppets” controlled by Western countries and members of al-Qaeda. He again vowed to never negotiate with them.
During his hour-long speech, Assad outlined his plan to end the country’s nearly two- year civil war. He called for a new constitution, elections and a national meeting to hash out differences. But he said that meeting would not include anyone fighting his regime. And those changes would only come once Western countries stop supporting the rebels.
Those rebel groups were quick to angrily dismiss Assad’s speech. They warned the deadly fighting will not stop until the Syrian dictator finally steps down.
Scott Evans, Channel One News.