The US and France have condemned a speech by Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad which blamed an "external conspiracy" for the mass uprising against his rule.
The US state department said President Assad had thrown "responsibility on everybody but back on himself".
France's foreign minister said the speech amounted to "denial of reality".
In a rare public address, Mr Assad said international powers were trying to destabilise Syria, and vowed to crush "terrorists" with an "iron fist".
In Washington, state department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said: "Assad manages to blame a foreign conspiracy that is so vast with regard to the situation in Syria that it now includes the Arab League, most of the Syrian opposition, the entire international community.
"He throws responsibility on everybody but back on himself and with regard to his own responsibility for the violence in Syria."
She added that the address confirmed "our view that it is time for him to step aside".
Speaking in Paris, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said: "It incites violence and confrontation between the parties. It's a sort of denial of reality."----
More on the BBC's website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16498788
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