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Assad says troops 'preserving Syria

[ 2011-08-02 10:40]     字号 [] [] []  
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President Bashar al-Assad praised troops for "foiling the enemies" of Syria, state news agency SANA said on Monday, a day after security forces reportedly killed nearly 80 people in a crackdown on protests.

A total of 79 Syrians were said to have been killed in several cities in clashes with security forces on Sunday, while the Cabinet ratified a draft law to give a greater say in various fields to local governments and the public.

Abdul-Karim al-Rihawi, head of the Syrian League for Human Rights, said 62 civilians were killed by security forces in Hama, which was raided by the army on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera TV, citing witnesses and activists, said the Syrian army backed by tanks stormed Hama from four sides with heavy gunfire after a nearly one-month-long siege. Al-Rihawi also said 12 people were killed in the northeastern province of Deir al-Zour, and another civilian in al-Bukamal city, which is close to Deir al-Zour.

Another four civilians were killed in the southern province of Daraa, the epicenter of anti-government protests, according to Al-Rihawi.

Assad said he was ultimately confident that Syria would undermine "this new chapter of conspiracy", which he said aimed at "dividing the country as a prelude for dividing the entire region to conflicting states".

In a speech marking the 66th anniversary of the Syrian army's formation, SANA cited the embattled leader as saying that the military "proved its loyalty to its people, country and creed.

"Its efforts and sacrifices will be admired ... these sacrifices succeeded in foiling the enemies of the country and ending sedition, preserving Syria."

The comments of Assad came as Germany and Italy called for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council following the reports from human rights activists.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Assad says troops 'preserving Syria

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Assad says troops 'preserving Syria

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.