Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad is set to deliver a speech on Sunday about the uprising against his regime, according to state media.
State media made the announcement as fighters close in on the seat of Assad’s power, saying that the president will speak on Sunday morning about the “latest developments in Syria and the region.”
The speech will be the leader’s first in months, according to Al Jazeera. When he appeared last, al-Assad dismissed any suggestion that he would go into exile in order to end the country’s civil war. In November, he told Russian television that he would “live and die” in Syria.
Ever since his last comments in November, the rebels seeking to overthrow him have become stronger and proved their ability to hold onto territories in the region. They have launched an offensive against the government in Hama and also endured weeks of bombardment by Assad’s regime forces as they seek to dislodge the rebels from the outer neighborhoods of Damascus.
While the country waits for Assad’s expected address on Sunday, the country’s political opposition has been able to win widespread international recognition. Assad, meanwhile, has been able to rely on his support from Russia, China, and Iran.
The Wall Street Journal notes that there is no word on whether Assad will continue to dig his heels in and vow to remain in Syria, or if the Syrian president will begin to cave to opposition and international pressure.
Al-Assad’s speech also arrives as rebels attempt to push through the government’s defenses in Damascus. Diplomatic efforts to end the civil war in Syria have failed so far, as neither side is willing to compromise with the other. Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal spoke with reporters on Saturday, saying that an immediate end to the war in Syria is required. Faisal also called for a peaceful political transition in the country.
Both Saudi Arabia and Egypt have joined in with other countries to call on Assad to step down.