Still image taken from video shows Syria's President Bashar al-Assad
Still image taken from video shows Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaking at Damascus university

Terrorism and foreign conspiracy guided by colonialist ambitions are responsible for the Syrian bloodshed, Syrian President Assad said.

In a rare public address and amid continuing violence, Bashar al Assad reiterated his commitment to reforms and fight against terrorism.

Assad failed to mention dissidents or anti-regime protesters, instead depicting the image of a country that had fallen victim to a foreign conspiracy. "clear for everybody to see". "Regional and international sides have tried to destabilise the country," he explained.

Posing as the leader of a regime that represents the heart of Arabism, Assad 'the reformist' went on to decry civilian deaths.

"There is no order from any level about opening fire on any citizen. According to the law, nobody should open fire - only in self-defence or during a clash with an armed person."

"In some cases the army entered in cities occupied by terrorists, and the citizens protected the great Syriaarmy so they could come in" he adds.

Foreign interference is not new the leader warned as "this terrorism cannot happen just overnight".

Perhaps the anti-Syria feeling coming from the West is motivated by Damascus's will to turn to "the east in 2005 to counter colonialism."

To bring an end to the crisis there is one solution only "to stand united. It is important that we should stand side by side and embrace the army and security forces."

He also called on Syrians to "differentiate between the mistakes of the individuals and the mistakes of the institution."

The state's policies will now focus on two aspects, "carry on the reforms and fighting terrorism."

Reforms are under way but should not be rushed, the president added. A referendum on a new constitution could be held in March, paving the way for elections in May or June and a transition to multi-party system.

In fact, the crisis it seems is motivated by external forces who want to prevent him from making the reforms that he said were planned as far back as 2005.

National reconciliation will also be on the cards but not before the crisis is resolved. "Revenge will not bring you a positive result but destroy the country.

"Tolerance will achieve a bright future. We are nearing the end of the crisis and we must stand united" the President warned.