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Syria's president says he won't leave power

In his first speech since June, Syrian President Bashar Assad has refused to step down, insisting he still has his people's support. He continues to claim that a foreign conspiracy and terrorists are behind the country's unrest.

(AP) Beirut - Syrian President Bashar Assad vowed Tuesday to respond to threats against him with an "iron hand" and refused to step down, insisting he still has his people's support despite the 10-month-old uprising against him.

In his first speech since June, Assad repeated claims that a foreign conspiracy and terrorists are behind the unrest — not true reform-seekers.

"Our priority now is to regain security which we basked in for decades, and this can only be achieved by hitting the terrorists with an iron hand," Assad said in a two-hour speech at Damascus University, where he stood at a podium flanked by Syrian flags. "We will not be lenient with those who work with outsiders against the country."

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