Feb. 15 - As the uprising rages on in Syria, President Bashar al-Assad orders a referendum on a new constitution to be held on February 26. Simon Hanna reports.
A thick cloud of black smoke blankets the city of Homs once again. This footage from a video streaming website shows smoke billowing from a major oil pipeline which was hit by an explosion according to witnesses. The city has become the centre of the 11-month uprising that has been raging against four decades of the Assad family rule. But amid the turmoil, President Bashar al-Assad has ordered a referendum on a new constitution. The announcement, made on state TV, said the vote would be held on February 26. The new draft constitution is part of a set of reforms introduced in response to the insurgency. If passed it would restrict the president to serving a maximum of two terms of seven years and introduce a pluralistic party system. But with cities such as Homs in open revolt, critics say holding an inclusive referendum will be impossible. Simon Hanna, Reuters.