msnbc | January 06, 2013
>>> cheers and chants as syria 's president issues a new and defiant call to war. president bashir assad gave a rare address from damascus earlier today. nbc's stephanie gosk is joining us from cairo with the latest on that. good evening, your time, stephanie . what exactly did president assad say, and how is that being received in the region?
>> alex , it has been rare to see assad in recent months. this is a momentous occasion, but he didn't really say anything all that new. he did propose a new potential political solution, talking about a new government and reconciliation talks and possibly a new constitution. but it seemed the bulk of what he had to say really proved how almost impossible it would be to reach that end given his other points that he made, including the fact that he called all of the opposition fighters terrorists. he said they are made up mostly of al qaeda . he gave little or no mention to the fact that syrians themselves had picked up arms against his country. and he said he would not negotiate until countries in the region have agreed not to find and give them money. the other interesting point he made is that the west is really trying to kill two birds with one stone . he said, they want to destroy syria , and they want to distract the terrorists, and that's what they're doing by sending al qaeda into syria . alex ?
>> can i just ask you, stephanie ? with regard to the numbers of syrians killed in this war, we got numbers last week. they're pretty disheartening, saying it's vastly more than we had thought. has there been any addressing of that number? upwards of 60,000 they're saying. has there been any addressing of that by the president's administration?
>> reporter: well, he doesn't address that. what he says is that all the hardship right now being felt by the syrian people is the result of the opposition and not the government themselves. he takes no responsibility for that whatsoever. that number that you mention, the united nations estimate, 60,000. and it's interesting because the u.n. envoy lakhdar brahimi said last week, if no political solution is reached in this country, that number would skyrocket by 100,000 more next year, a point that the fighting continues and continues intensely right now in that country. alex ?
>> nbc's stephanie gosk, thank you very much for the sobering report.