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Syrian leader: Arab world protests mark 'new era' - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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BEIRUT, (AP) – Syria’s president says the protests in Tunisia and Egypt are ushering in a “new era” in the Arab world but that his country is immune to that kind of unrest.

Bashar Assad told the Wall Street Journal in a rare interview that Syria is stable despite having more “difficult circumstances” than the rest of the Arab world. The interview was published Monday.

The 45-year-old British-trained eye doctor inherited power from his father, Hafez, in 2000, after three decades of iron-fisted rule.

Assad has since moved slowly to lift Soviet-style economic restrictions, letting in foreign banks, throwing the doors open to imports and empowering the private sector.

But Assad has not matched liberal economics with political reforms and critics of the regime are routinely jailed.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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