Jan. 6 - In a rare speech to supporters, President Bashar al-Assad calls for a national mobilization against ''al Qaeda ..terrorists''. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
(ROUGH CUT -- NO REPORTER NARRATION) A defiant President Bashar al-Assad called on Sunday for national mobilisation in a "war to defend the nation", describing rebels fighting him as terrorists and agents of foreign powers with whom it was impossible to negotiate. "Today I look at your faces and the faces of my countrymen, filled with sadness and pain. I look at the eyes of the children in Syria, but can't see either an innocent laugh that radiates from them or even toys that add smiles to their faces ... We meet today while mothers lost their sons. We meet today while agony prevails on Syrian land," he said Sunday, in a televised speech from Damascus. Assad also thanked China, Russia, Iran and all other countries who he said foster self-determination and support Syria's sovereignty by not interfering in its affairs. Those countries are among Assad's few remaining allies. The president, whose forces have been fighting a nearly two-year uprising against him that began with protests in March 2011, said the government would fill out the details of a national reconciliation plan in which "everyone forgives everyone." The United Nations estimates more than 60,000 Syrians have died in what it classifies as a civil war.