Syrian Tank 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
BEIRUT - Syrian President Bashar Assad will give an interview to Syrian
television on Sunday, state media said, as a UN team arrived in Damascus to
assess humanitarian needs after five months of turmoil.
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interview, only his fourth televised appearance since an uprising erupted
against his rule, will address "the current situation in Syria, the reform
process and ... implications of the US and Western pressures on Syria
politically and economically."
Assad last spoke in public in June. He
said he would introduce reforms within months to address the wave of protests
sweeping Syria, but blamed saboteurs for the violence and warned that no deal
could be reached with gunmen.
Since then international pressure on him
has stepped up, with the United States and European allies calling on him to
quit and imposing new sanctions in protest at his crackdown, which the United
Nations says has killed around 2,000 civilians.
Arab states and regional
power Turkey have also ratcheted up criticism of Assad after he sent tanks and
troops into some of Syria's biggest cities to crush dissent during the Muslim
holy month of Ramadan, which started on August 1.
Activists said Syrian
forces had killed two civilians in house raids in the town of Rastan
Homs on Saturday. The Syrian Revolution Coordinating Union, an
activists' organization, said one man was killed in al Hirak in Deraa
security forces fired at a funeral.
A day earlier, Assad's forces killed
34 people, including four children, in Homs and Deraa, where the popular revolt
began in March, as well as in suburbs of Damascus and the ancient desert town of
Palmyra, activists said.
Syria has expelled most independent media since
the unrest began, making it difficult to verify events on the
ground.UN team arrives in Syria
A UN team arrived in Syria on Saturday to
assess humanitarian needs in the country, a UN official said. The United
Nations has sought access for the team since May.
"We welcome the fact
that the government has approved the humanitarian mission," said the
The team will "assess the humanitarian situation and condition
of basic social services and identify initial assistance needs that could be
addressed through a rapid response," she added. She did not say which
parts of the country the team would visit, but said the mission would continue
UN humanitarian affairs chief Valerie Amos told the
UN Security Council on Thursday that the visit must not be a one-time offer
and that her team would need unhindered access to all parts of