He sacked a governor of a province that includes the city of Hama. That has as much to do with the governor allowing protests to continue as it does with anything else that Assad might say. Assad has been continually embarrassed by the protests in the heart of his country, and he's not going to tolerate dissent except when he allows it for his propaganda purposes. This isn't the first governor who has been sacked, and those moves haven't stopped the protests either:
The protests took place while Assad's troops, backed by tanks and helicopters, pursued a military campaign in the northwestern province of Idlib where a prominent rights lawyer said 14 villagers were killed on Friday.The protests continue unabated despite the ongoing crackdowns:
Another 10 people were shot dead by security forces who confronted demonstrators in the central city of Homs, Damascus suburbs and the Mediterranean city of Latakia, activists said.
State news agency SANA agency said Assad issued a decree dismissing Ahmad Khaled Abdulaziz, governor of Hama province, without giving details.
Hama was the site of an armed Islamist uprising against Assad's father, Hafez Assad, who sent the army to crush the revolt in 1982. At least 10,000 people were killed and part of
the old city was flattened in the military operation.
One month ago, activists said Syria forces killed at least 60 protesters in the city, in one of the bloodiest days of the uprising against Assad. Residents said security forces and snipers had fired on crowds of demonstrators.
Assad has already sacked the governors of Daraa, where the protests first broke out on March 18, and Homs, but neither move halted the momentum of protests in those provinces.
Assad is embarrassed by the ongoing protests and the failure to quell the protests despite weeks of crackdowns. Assad is desperate to hold on to power and is not going to give up without a fight.