The Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad remained defiant during an interview with ABC New’s Barbara Walters.
She challenged him on the United Nations’ report that 4,000 people have been killed so far in the military crackdown since the Arab Spring arrived in Syria in mid-March. He brushed off the report, responding: “Who said that the United Nations is a credible institution?”
He was also confronted on the many reports of killing, kidnappings and torture, that have been coming out of the country over many months and the fact that Syria has been condemned by the West, the Arab league and its former allies.
The president’s manner remained jovial throughout the interview, despite the severity of the accusations made against him. With a smile he denied everything saying: “We don’t kill our people. No government in the world kills its people, unless it’s led by a crazy person. For me as president, I became president because of public support. It’s impossible for anyone in this state to give an order to kill.
“I did my best to protect the people so you cannot feel guilty when you do your best. You feel sorry for the lives that have been lost, but you don’t feel guilty when you don’t kill people.”
He did later concede that some members of the armed forces went too far, but claims that these were the actions of individuals and not ordered from above. He added that these people have been punished for their actions.
With a ban on most foreign journalists in the country it is hard to get a clear picture of what is going on. But amateur video and reports over social networking sites indicate widespread violence and destruction in Syria.