US rejects Assad's denial of blame for crackdown

White House spokesman says Assad not "credible" in ABC interview in which he denied ordering protesters killed.

December 7, 2011 18:29
1 minute read.
Syrian President Bashar Assad

Syrian President Bashar Assad 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/SANA/Handout)

WASHINGTON - The White House on Wednesday rejected Syrian President Bashar Assad's claim that he has not ordered his troops to kill peaceful demonstrators.

"It is just not credible," White House spokesman Jay Carney said, asked about an ABC television interview Assad gave where he said only a "crazy" leader kills his own people.

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"The world has witnessed what has happened in Syria. The United States and many, many other nations around the world who have come together to condemn the atrocious violence in Syria perpetrated by the Assad regime know exactly what's happening and who is responsible," he said. "I don't think anybody who watched that interview would find Mr. Assad's answers credible."

Assad is under growing international pressure, including a threat of sanctions from the Arab League, over a crackdown on nationwide anti-government protests in which the United Nations says more than 4,000 people have been killed.

"We don't kill our people ... No government in the world kills its people, unless it's led by a crazy person," ABC's website on Wednesday quoted Assad as saying in a recorded interview.

"Most of the people that have been killed are supporters of the government, not the vice versa," Assad said.

Syrian activists say around a quarter of the more than 4,500 deaths they have recorded in nine months of protest have been among the security forces. Most foreign media have been excluded from Syria, making it hard to verify events independently.

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