Instead, in a rambling delivery, he did not go beyond previous offerings of a new “vision” including negotiations with a patriotic opposition that excluded those he accused of being sponsored by outside forces…

He also continued to insist that the rebels were no more than “armed, murderous criminals” and jihadist terrorists funded from abroad.

“The one thing that is sure that those who we face today are those who carry the al-Qaeda ideology,” he said. “There are those who seek to partition Syria and weaken it. But Syria is stronger and will remain sovereign. This is what upsets the West.”

As he insisted that the military solution to the conflict would continue even if talks took place, the crowd rose to its feet and chanted: “”With our soul with our blood we sacrifice ourselves for you O Bashar”.