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Assad To Address Nation As UN Rights Team Arrives In Damascus

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

Embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is to address the nation in a televised speech on August 21, three days after U.S. and European leaders called on him to step down.

The country's state-run news agency says Assad is to address his "future vision" for the country, including some government reforms. There was no time given for the speech.

Meanwhile, a United Nations rights team has arrived in Damascus to assess the humanitarian situation there following a brutal government crackdown on dissent that rights groups say has left over 2,000 people dead.

Syrian opposition leaders met in Turkey on August 20 to appoint members of a council that would represent dissidents and activists during a possible transition period should Assad resign.

The upcoming speech will be the Syrian leader's fourth public appearance since demonstrations against his rule began in March.

compiled from agency reports