Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has denied he is responsible for the killing of thousands of protesters, telling an American TV channel he was not in charge of the forces behind the crackdown. In a rare interview, Assad spoke to ABC News, saying: “I’m the president. I don’t own the country, so they’re not my forces.”
“There’s a difference between having a policy to crack down and between having some mistakes committed by some officials. There is a big difference,” the Syrian leader was quoted as saying.
It was Assad’s first interview to US media since Syria launched the crackdown in March.
Meanwhile, the United States and France on Tuesday sent their ambassadors back to Damascus. Robert Ford left the Syrian capital in late October. He had angered the Syrian regime by showing solidarity with opposition activists in the city of Hama. France's ambassador returned to Damascus on Monday, having been recalled last month.