Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, faced with perilous unrest, is reaching farther into the Arab despot bag of tricks, saying in his first major statement since protests began that “conspirators” are behind the tumult. "I belong to the Syrian people, and whoever belongs to the Syrian people will always keep his head high," Assad said Wednesday. But although the government has promised reforms, there was no mention of the country’s emergency law, which has been in place since 1963 and which Assad is expected to lift. Reporters on the ground say there’s widespread demand for reform but little of the fervor for removing the leader that protesters in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya have shown.
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