- 17 updates
The US State Department dismissed a speech by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus as a meaningless attempt to retain power in his war-torn country and urged him to step down.
Assad's speech "is yet another attempt by the regime to cling to power and does nothing to advance the Syrian people's goal of a political transition," said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland in a statement.
She added: "His initiative is detached from reality, undermines the efforts of Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi, and would only allow the regime to further perpetuate its bloody oppression of the Syrian people."
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was mobbed by supporters after his speech in Damascus today where he called the opposition "puppets" of the West.
ITV News Middle East correspondent John Ray reports:
Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt said Syrian President Bashar-al Assad's speech was both "hypocritical" and "depressing."
Mr Burt added that the Syrian President talked about reform and dialogue but neither of these were "realistic."
Professor Fawaz Gerges, head of the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics, said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad looked "confident" and "defiant" in his speech in Damascus today.
Professor Gerges added that the speech showed that Assad was not on the "verge of imminent collapse."
Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish Foreign Minister accused the Syrian President of making "empty promises" of peace after Mr al-Assad called on his people to rise up against the rebels.
The European Union said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must step down to allow political transition.
President Assad rejected the opposition movement in Syria as "enemies of the people, the enemies of God" and branded them "puppets" created by the West.
President Assad called for a reconciliation conference with "those who have not betrayed Syria", to be followed by the formation of a new government and an amnesty.