Bashar Assad Denies His Government Is Killing Anyone

Syria’s leader Bashar Assad is in full denial mode:

PARIS — A defiant President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, speaking in a rare television interview broadcast on Wednesday, denied ordering the bloody crackdown that has convulsed his land for the past nine months and disputed a United Nations estimate that 4,000 people had been killed as protesters took to the streets of cities across his land demanding that he step down.

“We don’t kill our people,” he said in the interview, excerpts of which were posted on line by ABC News. “No government in the world kills its people, unless it’s led by a crazy person,” he said, adding at another point: “There was no command to kill or be brutal.”

The interviewer, ABC’s Barbara Walters, challenged Mr. Assad’s version, saying she had seen visual evidence that children had been arrested in house-to-house searches. “To be frank with you, Barbara, I don’t believe you,” Mr. Assad responded.

Since mid-March, Mr. Assad’s regime has been resisting the tide of the so-called Arab Spring, even as support for him among Arab states and neighboring Turkey, a major regional player, has ebbed.

Asked about the most recent tally of deaths from the United Nations, Mr. Assad replied: “Who said that the United Nations is a credible institution?” And he insisted that those who died in street violence were his own supporters, not protesters demanding his resignation.

“Most of the people that have been killed are supporters of the government, not the vice versa,” he said. He put the number of soldiers and police killed in the violence at 1,100 soldiers and police.

One gets the impression that Assad actually believes this nonsense, which indicates that he’s not going to be giving up any time soon.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Ceaușescu believed his nonsense.

  2. Franklin says:

    “No government in the world kills its people, unless it’s led by a crazy person,”

    That may be true. The problem is when that crazy person doesn’t realize he’s crazy.

  3. michael reynolds says:

    Now can we kill him?

  4. waltm says:

    @michael reynolds:
    why not let the Syrians handle this?