19 May 2011

Mistakes acknowledged by Assad

3:58 pm on 19 May 2011

Syrian president Bashar Assad has acknowledged his security forces have made some mistakes in their handling of protests during a two-month uprising across the country.

The al-Watan newspaper said Mr Assad told a group of dignitaries that most of the blame lay with poorly trained members of the security services. But he said Syria had now ''overcome the crisis'' and it was coming to an end.

Syrian refugees in Lebanon say people were shot as they tried to leave the town of Tel Kalakh, which has been under siege by government troops.

A government crack-down to quell dissent was launched two months ago.

The United States is impose sanctions on Mr Assad for human rights abuses.

It will be the first time he has been targeted personally for the government's crackdown on protesters, which has resulted in hundreds of deaths.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the Syrian government has embraced the worst tactics of Iran and has refused to honour the legitimate aspirations of its own people.