In his first public address in two months, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad finally acknowledged the protests and unrest that has taken over the Arab republic. In the speech, Assad said he would consider a constitutional revision, but again blamed the three months of demonstrations on malevolent agitators.
In an attempt to appeal to demonstrators, Assad said in the address that his government would welcome the idea of constitutional reform and hopes to open a dialog with his people. The 70-minute long speech did not offer specifics as to when or how Assad would proceed.
The speech was built on promises, and the street doesn't trust the government to accept these promises, Louay Hussein, a prominent opposition figure in Damascus, told the New York Times.
It did not give a vision about beginning a new period to start a transfer from a dictatorship into a national democratic regime with political pluralism, Hassan Abdul-Azim, a prominent opposition figure, told The Associated Press.
Unfazed by their leader's rhetoric, Syrian protestors rallied in the streets.
In a suburb of the capital city of Damascus, around 300 people chanted No to dialogue with murderers. In Latakia, which has been surrounded by government forces for the past week, demonstrators shouted liar, liar, and in Hama people chanted damn your soul, Hafez. Hafez al-Assad was Bashar al-Assad's father.
Spontaneous rallies also occurred the eastern city of Albu Kamal, the southern city of Deraa, and at the campus of Aleppo University in Aleppo, Syria.
Syrian protestors are demanding a reshaping of the constitution, which currently assures Assad's Baath Party ultimate and uncontested power.
Much like Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi did in a televised interview at the beginning of the revolution in his country, Assad still blamed much of the violence in Syria on saboteurs and foreign agents.
Syrian armed forces have been used to quash demonstrations, which Assad claims were started by armed gangs. The National Guard has taken control of two northern cities, and an estimated 1,400 people have been killed. Around 10,000 Syrians have fled Assad's reign and found refuge in Turkey.