President Bashar al-Assad said on Monday there could be no reform in Syria in the face of "sabotage and chaos," as he addressed the nation in his first speech in two months.
Assad said Syria was now at a "turning point" after "difficult days," and promised it would emerge stronger in the face of the "plotting" against it.
Offering his condolences to the families of "martyrs" from the unrest rocking the country since mid-March, Assad said there could be "no development without stability, no reform in the face of sabotage and chaos."
"Today we stand at a decisive moment in the history of our country, a moment that we want through our determination and our will to mark the turning point between a yesterday full of troubles and pain in which innocent blood was shed ... and a tomorrow full of hope," he said.
"We make a distinction between those (with legitimate grievances) and the saboteurs who represent a small group which has tried to exploit the goodwill of the Syrian people for its own ends," said Assad.
"I don't think there has been a single day when Syria has not been the target of plotting whether that be for geopolitical reasons or because of its political positions."