In a rare and defiant speech Tuesday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad blamed the unabated violence in his country on "external conspiracies," criticized the Arab League as toothless and said that the international call for reform wasn't taking into account what the country was really facing: terrorism.
While he did not explicitly point the finger at a particular country, al-Assad blamed the unrest on both Western and Arab elements as world pressure mounted on his embattled government for its 10-month-long crackdown against protesters.
"The mask has fallen off these faces," he said. "No wise person denies these international conspiracies that (are) being done in order to spread fear inside. But this time, it was done with people from inside."
Thousands have been reported killed by security forces throughout the uprising. Death estimates range from more than 5,000 to more than 6,000. The Syrian government has consistently blamed the violence on "terrorists" and al-Assad denied that he commanded forces to open fire on protesters.FULL STORY