Assad says no reform during "chaos"
President Bashar al-Assad has refused any reform in Syria while the country was in "chaos", in a televised address to the nation on Monday, but he declared that the nation was at a "turning point".
Assad told an invited audience at Damascus University that the country would emerge "stronger", in the face of what he referred to as "plotting" against it.
He said a national dialogue was underway which could lead to a new constitution, and he raised the possibility of elections and an end to the ruling Baath party's dominance, while warning that the economy was on the verge of collapse.
But he said there could be no development without stability.
Assad's third speech to the nation since protests erupted, came after Russia's pledge to block any Western moves against the Syrian ruler at the United Nations.
The European Union is preparing to expand sanctions against Assad's regime, according to a draft resolution to be adopted by EU foreign ministers on Monday.