Assad: Syria Capable of Dealing With Protests, I Am Not Worried

Syria President Assad gives interview broadcast on Syrian TV in fourth public appearance since protests erupted in March, reiterates commitment to reforms.

Syrian President Bashar Assad said on Sunday the unrest sweeping the country had become more militant in recent weeks but he was confident it could be controlled.

"As for the security situation (it) has become more militant in the recent weeks and specially last Friday. We are capable of dealing with it.. (I) am not worried," he said during an interview broadcast on Syrian television.

Assad - AP file photo - released 31.7.11

This was the fourth public appearance Assad has made since the revolt against his family's 40-year rule erupted in mid-March.

He repeated plans to introduce reforms to Syria, one of the most authoritarian states in the Middle East. He said a committee to study reforms would need at least six months to work.

The Syrian president added that he expected a parliamentary election to be held in February 2012 after a series of reforms that would let political groups other than his Baath party take part.

"The expected time for having the parliamentary election is February 2012", he said in the interview.