Syrian President Bashar al-Assad addressed a crowd of thousands of his supporters in Damascus on Wednesday, in a surprise public appearance following 10 months of unrest.
The crowd shouted "Shabiha forever, for your eyes Assad", a reference to pro-Assad militiamen who have frequently fought pro-democracy protesters.
Assad told the crowd "Syria is facing a
conspiracy but we will beat it; I’ve never felt weak."
"Conspiracy is in its final phase; we should be ready
when the country calls for us," the Syrian presdient said.