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Syrian president vows not to step down amid unrest

Updated: 2012-01-11 08:12
( Xinhua)

Syrian president vows not to step down amid unrest 

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks at Damascus university January 10, 2012, in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA. [Photo/Agencies]

DAMASCUS - Embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Tuesday he would neither step down nor give up responsibilities since he still has the support of his people.

Standing before a crowd of supporters in Damascus University, in dark suit and tie, Assad said the ten-month-old events that wracked Syria has "blooded the heart of every Syrian and imposed circumstances that pose a serious test for us in nationalism."

In his fourth speech since the eruption of unrest in Syria in mid March, Assad said it's no longer possible for some regional and international parties who want to destabilize Syria to fraud facts and events, adding that hundreds of world media have worked against Syria "to push us to a state of collapse but they failed."

He said Syria is facing an unprecedented battle, and that victory is imminent thanks to the Syrian people's steadfastness and patience.

Meanwhile, Assad said his country will not close door to any Arab solution respecting the Syrian sovereignty and the independence of the country's decision, adding he was the one to suggest the need for Arab monitors to find out the truth in Syria.

Commenting on Arab League's (AL) halting of Syria's membership, Assad said an AL without Syria is no longer an Arab organization. "The question is who would lose, the Arab League or Syria? The Arabism of the Arab League would remain suspended without Syria."

This Assad's first national speech since Damascus agreed to an AL plan. Syria signed an AL observer protocol on December 19, 2011 in the Egyptian capital of Cairo after the pan-Arab body threatened to take the issue to the UN Security Council.

As of Sunday, there are all together 165 observers monitoring the situation in Syria as part of an AL peace initiative to end the months-long turmoil there.

Besides, Assad said a committee entrusted with rewriting the Syrian constitution is at its final stages. He noted that the upcoming constitution will be focused on political, party pluralism and institutions.

Assad said there would be a referendum on the constitution at the beginning of March.

Meanwhile, Assad said Syria seeks to establish a broad government that included a mixture of politicians and technicians and represents all spectra of society.

"We are at the threshold of changes, a great part of them focus on the youth generation that has confronted this crisis," he said, however, he noted "restoring security is the ultimate priority for Syria at this stage."

Assad vowed to fight terrorism with iron fist and accused foreign conspiracy of trying to destabilize Syria. The Syrian government has blamed the country's turmoil on terrorists and foreign-backed armed gangs.

"Revenge doesn't build up a country, nor could it restore the blood that was shed ... Only tolerance can build up nations," he warned. The Syrian government said a total of 2,000 army and security personnel were killed during the months-long unrest, while the United Nations put the death toll at more than 5,000.

The president said he did not give any orders to security forces to fire on civilians during the government's handling of the protests against his rule.

Assad said the country's policies are to continue reforms and combat terrorism, adding that Syria's dignity is stronger than instigators' armies and wealth.

Besides, Assad, who has made only a few public appearances since the unrest, boasted the many advantages of his country, saying that the country's debt is very low and its ties with world countries haven't be ruptured.