Bashar al-Assad of Syria to deliver important speech to his people

43858.jpegBashar al-Assad, the Syrian president is expected to address the nation on Wednesday in his first speech in two weeks of unprecedented dissent.

Syrian news agency SANA said Assad would deliver an important speech addressed to the Syrian people in which he will tackle the internal affairs and the latest events in Syria".

Assad is expected to elaborate on a string of reforms announced last week, amid a wave of dissent and protests demanding more freedoms which led to the resignation of the country's government on Tuesday, according to

Assad's main concern over the last week has been how to promote a veneer of domestic reform in a divided country.

Tens of thousands of supporters, many of them students released from school, streamed through the capital, Damascus, chanting "Only God, Syria, Bashar!" But in provincial cities such as Daraa and Latakia, protesters plotted amid the truncheons and boots of riot police.

It remains unclear whether Assad's reforms would be genuine, or enough to quiet protests. Repealing the much-reviled emergency law, which has been in place since 1963, would be a token gesture unless accompanied by other changes, such as stripping police of their immunity.

Assad, 45, and his Baath Party inner circle, including his brother Maher, head of the Republican Guard, are also confronting sectarian divisions. Assad's Alawite clan is a minority in a predominantly Sunni Muslim country. If the protests gather strength among Sunnis, who constitute much of the business elite, that would jeopardize Assad's hold on power, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports.


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