Syrian Leader to Appear on National Television, Crackdown Continues

Posted August 21st, 2011 at 4:10 am (UTC-5)
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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is scheduled to appear on national television Sunday amid global pressure to end a crackdown on protesters.

The Syrian leader has pushed ahead with his crackdown despite assurances to the U.N. chief that military operations have ended.

The United States, the European Union and several other Western powers have said that Mr. Assad has to go.

Syrian security forces killed at least two people Saturday in the central province of Homs. The deaths happened a day after Syrian forces killed at least 34 people across the country.

The military offensive has also focused on the coastal city of Latakia, the eastern city of Deir el-Zour, and the central flashpoint city of Hama.

The U.N. has announced plans to send a team to Syria to assess the country's humanitarian situation. The U.N.'s human rights office said Thursday that Mr. Assad's forces had carried out widespread and systematic attacks on civilians that may amount to crimes against humanity.

U.N. Human Rights chief Navi Pillay told the Security Council it should refer the situation in Syria to the Hague-based International Criminal Court.

Syria's U.N. ambassador, Bashar Ja'afari, accused Washington and some other Security Council members of waging what he called a “diplomatic and humanitarian war” against his country.