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Won’t stop, Assad vows; crowd cheers

Syrian’s tone unchanged in 1st speech in 6 months

Posted: January 7, 2013 at 12:19 a.m.

Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks at the Opera House in central Damascus on Sunday in this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA. It was Assad’s first public speech in six months.

Syrian President Bashar Assad rallied a chanting and cheering crowd Sunday to fight the uprising against his authoritarian rule, dismissing any chance of dialogue with “murderous criminals” that he blames for nearly two years of violence that have left 60,000 dead, according to United Nations estimates.

Assad Calls on Syrians to Defend the Country

President Bashar Assad called on Syrians to defend their country against religious extremists seeking to destroy the nation, dismissing any prospect of dialogue with the "murderous criminals" he says are behind the uprising. (By The Associated Press)
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Front Section, Pages 1 on 01/07/2013

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