June 3 - Syrian president Bashar al-Assad blames foreign powers and ''terrorists'' for the violence that has wracked the country for the last 15 months. Andrew Raven reports.
Embattled Syrian president Bashar al-Assad arrives for a much anticipated speech on the state of his war-torn nation. With Syria seemingly on the brink of civil war, al-Assad blamed "terrorists" and foreign powers for the violence that has wracked the country for the last 15 months. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD, SAYING: "I just want to say that when we describe this as a matter of terrorism, we are no longer talking about the domestic political framework. We are now facing a real war from outside." He also denied suggestions that government forces were behind the massacre last week of over 100 men, women and children in the small town of Houla. But Syrian refugees in Jordan dismissed the speech as empty rhetoric. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED SYRIAN REFUGEE, SAYING: "He is repeating the same words, conspiracy, armed groups, terrorists from abroad, funding. He did not change anything." Around 10,000 Syrians have been killed since al-Assad's government launched a brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protesters last year. Andrew Raven, Reuters