As the situation in Syria escalates, we update you with the latest developments from our correspondents, news agencies and citizens across the globe.
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(All times are local in Syria GMT+2)
We are hearing reports of new unrest in Syria, just a few hours after President Assad addressed the nation.
In Latakia, witnesses say security forces opened fire to disperse a crowd rallying outside the mayor’s office.
They had been expecting the President to announce plans for political reform.
Instead he used his speech to accuse foreign conspirators and satellite television stations of causing the unrest.
Haytham Manna, the spokesperson for the Arab Commission for Human Rights, told Al Jazeera he expects the protests in Syria to continue:
Watch the Syrian State Television footage below of a woman approaching President Assad’s car after his speech. She appears to be a protester and is immediately surrounded by security forces:
President Assad defied expectations that he would lift Syria’s decades-old emergency law after nearly two weeks of protests that have presented the gravest challenge to his 11-year rule.
Addressing the nation for the first time since the start of the unprecedented wave of protests, inspired by uprisings across the Arab world, Assad said he supported reform but offered no new commitment to change Syria’s one-party political system.
Al Jazeera’s correspondents have more on this developing story:
During President Assad’s speech, he said reforms have been under way for some time, however, Al Jazeera’s correspondent found a different story.
Cal Perry was in Daraa, the city where the most violent protests took place and dozens were killed, to gauge reaction to the speech.
In the video below, he recounted his experience:
Good afternoon and welcome to our continuing coverage of the unrest in Syria.
You can read our main story on President Assad’s first address to the nation since anti-government protests began here.
As he entered Parliament for Wednesday’s speech, legislators chanted “God, Syria and Bashar only!” and “Our souls, our blood we sacrifice for you Bashar.”
The speech is seen as a crucial test for his leadership and one that may determine Syria’s future.
Assad said it was an “exceptional time” and a “test for our unity”.
He said some Syrians who had demonstrated against his rule had legitimate demands and said the government supported the idea of reform.
“We cannot say that everyone who went out [in the streets] is a conspirator. Let us be clear about that,” Assad said.
Some people have gathered in the streets of Damascus were chanting:”The people want Bashar al-Assad”
President Assad:”Some people on some satellite channels will come and say these reforms are not enough, don’t get upset with these satellite channels, they fall into the same traps all the time, they lie and they start to believe their own lies.
“The enemy always tried to weaken us. success always makes us assured. After each battle we have to maintain ourselves from outside conspiracies.
I know that many people have been waiting for this speech but I wanted to wait until I see the full picture clearly; our enemies are working very hard to strike at Syria.”
President Bashar al-Assad: “The latest’s Events test our unity, these are repeated every now and then, due to the conspiracy against the nation. we will willingly overcome these difficulties.
syrian president Bashar al-Assad speaks to the nation amid unrest in the country.
Twitter user @shinawatra2011 wrote: the governor of Tartous in Syria is calling his employees to rally everyone to support president Assad.
Assad is to address the nation on Wednesday, according to a senior official, in his first speech in two weeks of unprecedented dissent.
He is expected to elaborate on a string of reforms announced last week, amid a wave of dissent and protests demanding reform and more freedoms in the country, which has been ruled by the Baath party since 1963.