The president promised the referendum during a speech in January, saying the new document would focus on a multiparty system.
The Syrian government approved a law last July allowing the formation of political parties outside of the ruling Ba’ath party, which took power in 1963. Meanwhile, rights activists said government forces launched an assault Wednesday on the central flashpoint city of Hama. They said troops stormed residential areas of the city and that telephone lines were cut. In Homs, about 40 kilometers to the south, activists said an explosion hit an oil pipeline near the rebel-held Sunni Muslim district of Baba Amr, sending a large plume of smoke into the air.