Conflict & Justice

Assad Blames 'Saboteurs' for Protests in Syria

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (BBC video)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has blamed anti-government protests on a small group of "saboteurs". In his third address to the nation since protests began in March, he said Syria should deal with people's demands for reform but that a "small faction" was exploiting popular grievances. He said a national dialogue would shape Syria's future and urged people who had fled to Turkey to return. After the speech there were reports of further protests in several cities. Joshua Landis directs the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

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