Assad blames 'conspirators' for unrest

In a highly anticipated address to parliament that lasted almost one hour, Assad took aim at social networking websites and pan-Arabic satellite television news channels but made no mention of any plans to lift the state of emergency.

Presidential adviser Buthaina Shaaban had told AFP on Sunday that Syria has also decided to lift emergency rule, which has been in force in the country since 1963.

But the autocratic regime of Assad, who succeeded his father Hafez al-Assad in the year 2000, has been rocked by a wave of demonstrations in defiance of the law over the past two weeks, with protesters emboldened by uprisings in the Arab world.

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