31 Mar '11, 4am

Syria leader dashes hopes of end to emergency rule - Channel News Asia /@FLASH_NEWS

Syria leader dashes hopes of end to emergency rule - Channel News Asia /@FLASH_NEWS

DAMASCUS: President Bashar al-Assad of Syria dashed hopes of an end to decades of emergency rule on Wednesday in his first speech since protests erupted two weeks ago, instead blaming conspirators for the unrest. Syria has been ruled with an iron grip by the Assad family for 40 years but has now been reached by the wave of popular demonstrations that have swept the Middle East. In a highly anticipated address to parliament that lasted almost an hour, Assad warned that Syria's "enemies" were targeting its unity. He failed to deliver the expected announcement that he was ending the 48-year-old emergency, prompting rights groups to express disappointment. Washington said the speech lacked substance, and two senior US lawmakers urged President Barack Obama to get behind the opposition to Assad. Following the speech, gunfire broke out in the Syrian port city of Latakia, with co...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world/view/111...

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