Assad says security forces can control Syrian protests

Syrian president tells national TV measures have been taken as protests become "more militant," shows confidence uprising will end soon.

August 21, 2011 21:32
1 minute read.
Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks, Monday

Assad speaking 311. (photo credit: Screenshot)

Syrian President Bashar Assad said on Sunday the unrest sweeping the country had become more militant in recent weeks but he was confident it could be controlled, and that elections could potentially be held within as little as three months.

Assad said that security forces were taking measures to deal with the
months-long uprising by protesters demanding his ouster.

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"We are capable of dealing with it.. (I) am not worried," he said during an interview broadcast on Syrian television.

Assad refused to divulge the specifics of the measures, but said that the situation in Syria was going to return to normal, and that his security forces have taken are succeeding.

Days after Syrian opposition leaders announced that they were meeting in Istanbul to discuss plans for a future Syria without Assad, the Syrian president said that a national dialogue was crucial for moving the political situation in the country forward.

Assad said the country would be ready for political parties besides the ruling Baath Party to submit applications within a week, paving the way for possible elections in as little as three months, but that February, 2012 would be the most logical time for voting.

Protesters in Syria have been calling for Assad's ouster since mid-March, and the regime has come under international criticism for its violent crackdown on demonstrations in which thousands of people have been killed.

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