Syria defied international calls to halt attacks on rebel enclaves as at least 89 people were killed nationwide Saturday on the eve of a constitutional referendum that the opposition sees as a ploy by President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
Mr. al-Assad presented the revised charter – which allows for at least a theoretical opening of the country's political system – as an effort to placate critics and quell the 11-month uprising against his rule. But the vote is unlikely to overshadow a new round of international condemnation and calls that Mr. al-Assad leave power.
The new charter would create a multiparty system in Syria, which has been ruled by the same family dynasty since Mr. al-Assad's father, Hafez, seized power in a coup in 1963. Such change as unthinkable a year ago.
EU-Digest: unfortunately this could be a question of too little too late?
For more: Syrian violence leaves scores more dead as referendum draws near - The Globe and Mail