- Congress says Togadia spreading venom; EC seeks recording of alleged hate speech
- Akhilesh Yadav tears into Narendra Modi bastion on maiden visit to Gujarat, says third front ready to govern
- Proponents of Article 370 should say how it has helped J&K: Rajnath Singh
- 1984 riots: Akalis protest over Capt Amarinder Singh's clean chit to Jagdish Tytler
- IPL 7 Live Cricket Score, CSK vs DD: Raina departs after scoring valiant half-century
Assad's first speech in six months shatters hopes for a solution to Syria's crisis any time soon
If Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has so far defied all predictions of his imminent defeat, his televised speech on Sunday — his first public address since last June — belied expectations of a more conciliatory approach. Instead, the Damascus Opera House broadcast framed a defiant Assad, justifying his violent crackdown and rallying his supporters. He not only called Syria's opposition "puppets of the West" but also laid down his own conditions. These include an end to the alleged arming of "terrorist groups" by outside powers. Only then would the army halt its operations and the government contact opposition elements of its choice, he said, for a "national dialogue" on a national charter, followed by elections and a new cabinet. Western and Arab capitals, as well as the main opposition, the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), immediately rejected Assad's proposals, with the US State Department calling them "detached from reality".
According to UN estimates, more than 60,000 people have died and thousands have turned into refugees since the conflict began in March 2011. The Assad regime has lasted these 21 months because of its firepower and support inside and outside. Internally, Assad continues to enjoy the support of minorities as well as the Baathists and security forces. Diplomatically, Russia and China continue to back Assad. Meanwhile, having changed tactics late last year, the opposition forces have gained control of most of northern and eastern Syria. However, heavy aerial bombardment has prevented them from taking Damascus and other important cities. Even as the civilian death toll climbs, Syria is an all-round diplomatic failure.
- 21-year-old dies in road mishap, one injured
- Ask Badals where is Ludhiana Metro: Bhattal to locals
- Arrests in priest murder case divide Catholic Church
- Short Change: EPFO to allot permanent account number to active subscribers by Oct 15
- India Inc profit set to grow, but margins under pressure
- Mulayam: Will amend Constitution for Muslim quota