As the vicious, bloody civil war in Syria enters its fifth year, an interview was granted by President Bashar al-Assad to a U.S. network for a one on one interview, a full year after having his last conversation with the same member of the U.S. media.
The meeting on Thursday in the capital of Damascus came after new reports of an attack with chlorine gas that allegedly had killed six people.
Assad insisted the claims his regime is using the chlorine gas and the equally indiscriminate and devastating barrel bombs is false.
He called it malicious propaganda against his country. He said the chlorine gas is not gas from the military, as it can be purchased anywhere. He added that if anyone were using it would be rebels trying to knock him out of office.
He said traditional arms were more important than the chlorine and if it had been very effective, it would have been used by terrorists in a large scale.
Assad was asked why he does he not allow the international inspectors to verify if poison was used or not.
According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the civil war has killed more than 200,000 people in Syria and over 85% of the civilians killed were killed by the government forces.
Those figures are also rejected by Assad. He said the war was not about gaining land but was about winning the minds and hearts of Syrians. He said it is impossible to do that if we as a government are killing Syrians.
He claims his government receives no benefit from killing people since it puts the major world powers, the regional powers and his own people against him. Therefore, he says it is unrealistic to be killing his own people for the past four years.
The interview was filmed by Syrian TV at Assad’s request due to what they called security reasons. However, there were no questions off limits for the interviewer to ask the Syrian president.