Syrian president says security services made mistakes
Mr Assad told a group of dignitaries that most of the blame lay with poorly trained members of the security services, the al-Watan newspaper said.
But he said Syria had now “overcome the crisis” and it was coming to an end.
Syrian refugees in Lebanon told the BBC they had fled scenes of great violence in the town of Tal Kalakh, which has been under siege by the army for several days. Activists say at least 27 people have been killed.
In Syria itself, a general strike called by an influential anti-government website, Syrian Revolution 2011, appears to have had little impact.
Residents of the capital said no-one would dare answer the call.
He attributed the shortcomings to a lack of experience with such situations, which he said would normally be the police’s responsibility.
“The role of the security services is to gather information, analyse it and hand it over to the proper authorities,” the president said.
Shot over a cow
One woman described how a relative was killed when she fled.
Having started her escape, she turned back because she decided she wanted to bring her cow with her. She was shot in the head.
Officials have told the state news agency, Sana, that the violence is being carried out by armed gangs who have crossed into Syria from Lebanon.
But the refugees blamed the Syrian army and said they had no idea when they would be able to go back to their homes.