Syrian National Council chief Burhan Ghalioun said in response to President Bashar Assad’s speech on Tuesday:
“The head of the Syrian regime gave a dangerous speech during which he stressed that he would continue employing violence against his people and defined the revolution as a ‘conspiracy,'”
Ghalioun told a press conference in Ankara that “the Syrian people expected Assad to announce his resignation. The only response to Assad’s statements is to expand the revolt.”
“There is incitement to violence, incitement to civil strife, some talks about sectarian divisions which the regime itself has fomented and encouraged,” said Basma Qadmani, a member of the SNC, the largest opposition umbrella group.
“Our concern today is that such a speech is quite indicative of the total dismissal by the regime of the international community,” Qadmani said at a press conference in Istanbul.
Assad vowed Tuesday to respond to threats against him with an “iron hand” and refused to step down, insisting he still has his people’s support despite the 10-month-old uprising against him.
In his first speech since June, Assad repeated claims that a foreign conspiracy and terrorists are behind the unrest — not true reform-seekers.
“Our priority now is to regain security which we basked in for decades, and this can only be achieved by hitting the terrorists with an iron hand,” Assad said in a nearly two-hour speech at Damascus University.