Syrian troops attacked the city of Homs today, killing at least 15 civilian protesters and wounding an unknown number of others in the latest step in a nationwide crackdown on dissent. The violence has drawn international scorn, but was addressed today by President Bashar Assad.
In a first for the regime, which seems in general pretty proud of its killings, President Assad conceded to visiting envoys that “some mistakes were made” in the crushing of pro-democraccy protests, and reiterated his commitment to “reforms.”
Assad’s conciliatory comments come as he faces new investigations into war crimes, and as additional sanctions against his regime have been imposed.
The comments appear to have been tempered somewhat by Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, who according to the state media told the envoys that the entire situation was the fault of “foreign interference.”
Moallem also blamed “misleading media” reports about the crackdown for adding undue international pressure to the regime. The state media claimed all the foreign envoys praised the regime’s behavior after the speech, which seems entirely unlikely but is in keeping with the narrative of the outlet, which didn’t even mention the massacres in Hama last week.