Assad to address Syria as his troops block refugees

By REUTERS
June 20, 2011 10:01

 
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AMMAN - Syrian President Bashar Assad is to address the nation on Monday as his forces sweep through the northwestern border region with Turkey blocking refugees fleeing a military crackdown on protests against his autocratic rule.

The operation along the border follows the biggest protests in four months of anti-Assad unrest on Friday which a violent clampdown has failed to quash. Security forces shot dead up to 19 protesters on Friday, rights groups said.

Assad's will address "current circumstances", the state news agency said, his first speech since April 16 and only his third since protests began in the southern Hauran Plain on March 18.

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