Published: January 07. 2013 4:00AM PST
Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks Sunday at the Opera House in central Damascus.
In the rare public appearance Sunday, Assad pledged to intensify his war against the “terrorists" challenging his rule even as he proposed a package of reforms aimed at ending the bloodshed engulfing Syria.
Appearing weary but defiant as he addressed cheering supporters, Assad outlined suggestions for what he called a period of “transition," in which a new government would be formed, a “national pact" would be drafted and a referendum would be held.
But at the same time, he offered no hint that he is willing to cede power, and he made it clear that he was not prepared to negotiate either with the exiled Syrian opposition factions or the rebels fighting on the ground, whom he derided as Islamic radicals supportive of al-Qaida and Western “puppets."
— The Washington Post
The Associated Press