Jan. 10 - The U.S. reacts to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's televised speech. Amateur video appears to show the speech has prompted continued protests against Assad's rule. Katharine Jackson reports.
They slap shoes together and chant "God curse you and your speech." Obtained from a social media website, this video cannot be independently verified by Reuters. It purports to show protesters in Homs, Syria, denouncing President Bashar al-Assad after his speech on Tuesday. During the speech broadcast on Syrian TV, Assad blamed foreign-backed Islamists for continued violence and made scathing remarks about the Arab League, which has sent monitors to check the regime's compliance with a peace plan. The U.S. reaction: Assad needs to own up to the role he and his security forces have played during the 10-month uprising against his rule. State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN VICTORIA NULAND, SAYING: "It is interesting throughout the course of this speech Assad manages to blame a foreign conspiracy that is so vast with regard to the situation in Syria that it now includes the Arab League, most of the Syrian opposition, the entire international community. He throws responsibility on everybody but back on himself and with regard to his own responsibility for the violence in Syria, he seems to aggressively deny any responsibility or any hand in the role of his own security forces. The United Nations has estimated more than 5,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising began. On Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said hundreds more have died since the Arab League arrived. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS, SUSAN RICE, SAYING: "In the days since the Arab League monitoring mission has been on the ground, in fact an estimated 400 additional people have been killed, an average of 40 a day, a rate much higher than was the case even before their deployment." More amateur video obtained online appears to show people handing papers to Arab League monitors and carying photos of relatives they say have died in the conflict. The Arab League said Syria has not fully implemented the peace plan. The monitoring mission is set to continue until January 19. Katharine Jackson, Reuters.