((NO ACCESS SYRIA))
IN HIS FIRST PUBLIC SPEECH SINCE JUNE, PRESIDENT BASHAR ASSAD CALLED ON SYRIANS TO PROTECT THEIR COUNTRY AGAINST RELIGIOUS EXTREMISTS SEEKING TO DESTROY THE COUNTRY.
HE ALSO dismissED any prospect of dialogue with WHAT HE CALLED THE "murderous criminals" he says are behind the NEARLY TWO-YEAR-OLD uprising. HE ALSO outlined his vision for a peaceful settlement to the civil war. THE UN ESTIMATES THAT MORE THAN 60-THOUSAND PEOPLE HAVE BEEN KILLED.
ASSAD WAS DEFIANT IN THE ONE HOUR SPEECH BEFORE SUPPORTERS AT THE OPERA HOUSE IN DAMASCUS.
SYRIA'S OPPOSITION QUICKLY REJECTED THE PROPOSAL.
((AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY--Cairo, Egypt))
(nats in arabic)
THIS OPPOSITION MEMBER CALLED ASSAD A CRIMINAL, A KILLER, A MAN WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY THE LAW.
WORLD LEADERS ECHOED THE SENTIMENT.
((BBC'S "THE ANDREW MARR SHOW" - AP CLIENTS ONLY - MANDATORY ON-SCREEN CREDIT - CREDIT MUST STAY IN VISION FOR 5 SECS))
SOUNDBITE (English) David Cameron, British Prime Minister:
"My message to Assad is 'go!'. He has the most phenomenal amount of blood on his hands. We now see that 60-thousand people have been killed in Syria. I met some of the victims when I went to the refugee camp on the Jordanian border. The stories they told me were completely shocking about how they had been bombed and shot and in some cases even stabbed out of their homes, their villages, and their towns. And this is a stain on the world's conscience.
ON SUNDAY, ASSAD IGNORED INTERNATIONAL CALLS FOR HIM TO STEP DOWN, SAYING, "WE HAVE NOT BETRAYED SYRIA."
MATT FRIEDMAN/Associated Press