DAMASCUS – Syria’s president has said that he feels no guilt about his crackdown on a 10-month uprising, despite reports of brutality by security forces, the BBC reported. In an interview with the US network ABC, Bashar al-Assad said he had given no orders for violence to be used against protesters but admitted “mistakes” were made. He said he did not own the security forces or the country.
At least 4,000 people have been killed since the uprising began, the UN says. However, Assad said the UN was not credible. Syria blames the violence on “armed criminal gangs”.
Assad’s interview comes a day after the US announced that its ambassador in Syria, Robert Ford, would return to Damascus after he was withdrawn in October because of security concerns.
Responding to questions from veteran presenter Barbara Walters about the brutality of the crackdown, Assad said he did not feel any guilt. “I did my best to protect the people, so I cannot feel guilty,” he said. “We don’t kill our people… no government in the world kills its people, unless it’s led by a crazy person,” he added. The security forces were not his, nor did he command them, the Syrian president said.
Meanwhile, Syrian opposition groups reported fighting with government security forces in the country’s north on Wednesday, CNN said. Heavy clashes and confrontation between the army and defectors in Idlib province resulted in several injuries from both sides, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.