Syrian President Blames Crisis on Foreign Conspiracy

Posted January 10th, 2012 at 4:50 am (UTC-5)
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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has blamed a foreign conspiracy for the unrest in his country and accused international media of working against Syria.

In a speech Tuesday in the capital, Damascus, Mr. Assad criticized the Arab League, which suspended Syria's membership in November. He said the conspiracy against the country is being led by international and Arab entities.

But Mr. Assad said he will not rule out any Arab solution to the crisis in Syria, as long as it respects the country's sovereignty.

The embattled president also said he will only leave his position at the will of the people.

The speech comes as a team of Arab League monitors continues its mission to observe Syria's compliance with a plan to end months of violence against anti-government protesters.

The United Nations says violence related to Mr. Assad's crackdown on the rebellion has killed at least 5,000 people. The Syrian government accuses armed terrorists of driving the 10-month revolt and killing 2,000 security personnel.

In June, Mr. Assad gave a 70-minute televised address in which he promised reforms and blamed “saboteurs” for trying to exploit calls for change in Syria.

Arab League foreign ministers decided Sunday to increase the number of monitors in Syria, despite criticism from opposition activists and rights groups who say the mission has failed to bring any halt to the violence.