Bashar al-Assad stands in front of a picture of himself with his father Hafez al-Assad

The Baath Party leadership is set to prepare from a transition from a single to a multi-party political system.

In a rare televised speech, the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad said transition to a multi-party system is underway and called for political parties to submit applications.

The Baath party is set to further discuss the initiative in a conference next month.

Meanwhile the president has also promised for a new consitution and parliamentary elections to be held by May or June 2013.

In his speech Assad said such moves had started in 2005. He reiterated his commitments to bring about reforms, despite continued violence and civilian deaths reported on a daily basis.

As the standoff between protesters and the security forces continues, fears that the anti-regime struggle is becoming increasingly violent intensify.

Last week, the capital Damascus was rocked by a suicide bomb attack, just two weeks after two similar blasts killed more than 40 people.

Activists say they fear the regime staged the attacks to fuel claims civilians are mainly being targeted by armed groups.

Ian Black, a correspondent for the Guardian, currently in Syria, said even Arab League officials do not rule out such claims, adding that: "One of the striking absences from the official account is that there seems to be no lists of actual victims."

Meanwhile accounts of the few journalists allowed in the country back activists' claims that many of the people taking parts in pro-Assad rallies seem to work for the government or are students.

As the crisis continues, Assad's possibilities become more restricted.

While he indirectly threatened an attack on Israel at the beginning of the uprising against his regime, his regional support has since then decayed. Russia, one of his few allies, is set against aattempts to use Israel as a diversion to Assad's domestic crisis.

With Hamas failing to stand by his side and Iran being subjected to pressure from the US over its uranium enrichment programme, an attempt by the regime to find a political resolution to the crisis could be Assad's only card left.

The doomsday scenario, say activists, is Assad could also pushing for the country further into civil war to legitimise even greater violence and terror.