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19:32 GMT +3 hours21 December 2014
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Syria's Assad admits 'some mistakes' in crackdown

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Syrian President Bashar Assad has admitted that his security forces have made "some mistakes" in quelling nationwide protests over the last five months, Arab media reported on Thursday.

Syrian President Bashar Assad has admitted that his security forces have made "some mistakes" in quelling nationwide protests over the last five months, Arab media reported on Thursday.

At a meeting with a delegation of diplomats representing Brazil, India and South Africa which was held on Wednesday, Assad said: "Syrian security forces have made some mistakes in the initial stage of the unrest, but efforts are underway to prevent their recurrence."

Rights groups say more than 2,000 people have died in protests since the uprising started in mid-March. More deaths were reported on Wednesday as the talks continued.

The Syrian president "reassured the delegation of his commitment to the reform process aimed at ushering in multi-party democracy," said a statement released by India's UN mission.

"He said that political reforms were being finalized in consultation with the people of Syria and the national dialogue would continue to give shape to the new laws and to arrive at a suitable model for the economy."

On August 3, the UN Security Council issued a statement condemning the violence in Syria after failing to adopt a tough resolution due to objections from some members, including Russia and China.

Pressure from international powers has mounted to end the crackdown, with condemnations from Egypt, Iraq and Russia, and the Turkish foreign minister handed Assad a stern message from Ankara as well.

Syria has banned foreign journalists and prevented coverage of the conflict, making it nearly impossible to independently verify accounts coming out of the country.