News / Middle East

Syria's Assad Denies Responsibility for Houla Massacre

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian President Bashar Assad, as he delivers a speech at the parliament in Damascus, June 3, 2012.
In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian President Bashar Assad, as he delivers a speech at the parliament in Damascus, June 3, 2012.
Edward Yeranian
CAIRO, Egypt - Syria's president has dismissed accusations his government was responsible for the recent massacre of 108 civilians in the town of Houla.  He also charges that forces outside Syria are plotting to destroy the country. 

Syrian government tanks shelled the beleaguered town of Houla on Sunday, while in Damascus, President Bashar al-Assad denied government responsibility for a massacre there two weeks ago.

In a speech to the newly-elected Syrian parliament, Assad appeared to defy mounting international criticism of his brutal response to the revolt against his rule.

He said the recent election was a response to legitimate popular demands, as well as a means to block foreign plots against his country.

He says that with recent reforms, the government is succeeding in combating outside designs on the country and at the same time answering a major part of the people's demands.

The Syrian president drew very little applause during his hour at the podium, unlike many previous addresses to parliament. Arab observers also pointed to the absence of Assad's Sunni vice president, Farouk al-Shara.

A November Arab League peace plan had designated Shara to conduct a dialogue with the opposition and to play a major role in a political transition.

President Assad insisted during his address that the 15-month conflict in Syria was not a “political” problem, but was instead the result of “terrorism.”

He says his government has tried to address the conflict with economic and political reforms, but the real problem facing Syria is terrorism.  He says a terrorist plot seeks to destroy the nation.

Opposition leader Samir al Nashar told Alhurra TV that President Assad has once again tried to lecture the Syrian people.

He says Assad wants to teach people the meaning of nationalism, but that the people do not need any lessons from him.  He says the president fails to see that he and his family are the main causes of the problem in Syria, rather than the outside plots he refers to.

University of Paris political science teacher Khattar Abou Diab says Assad is living in the past.

He says President Assad continues to deny what is happening, appearing more and more out of touch with reality, repeating tired slogans from the 1980s, despite the revolution raging all around him.  He adds Assad appears to think he is still loved by his people and that he can impose his views on others.

Abou Diab also notes that Assad did not even mention the U.N.-Arab League peace plan mediated by former U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan.  “Mr. Assad,” he says, “spoke only of a battle at hand, insisting that he will win it.”

Arab leaders urged Annan Saturday, during a meeting in Qatar, to put a time limit to his plan and to devise an alternative.

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by: Anonymous
June 05, 2012 11:51 AM
Breaking news out of Syria is that an Air Force Officer defects and provides statements that Assad and his militias were entirely behind this massacre, Assad should be held 100% liable.

by: Gab from: USA
June 05, 2012 8:40 AM
The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) an Association of 57 Islamic states promoting Muslim solidarity in economic, social, and political affairs has voted against intervention in Syria. Why? Maybe it is because they have a history of protecting their own autocratic rule.

by: Nigel
June 05, 2012 8:24 AM
Bashar Assad is like a bloody vampire feeding on the blood of the Syrian people. NATO needs to put a stake in his evil heart so the people of Syria can see the sunlight of freedom again.

by: Muhammad from: Sari, Iran
June 04, 2012 5:13 AM
Hi there. Im from Iran. It's so apparent that Dirty Assad has been doing all these crimes with the help of the leaders of Iran. The leaders of Iran has committed so many crimes not only against their people but also all over the world. Dont doubt Iran's leaders are back of Assad. Poor people of Iran and Syria.Iran is a clear indication of violation of Human Rights.

by: K.I.M. from: USA
June 04, 2012 1:38 AM
No one would be killed if dictator Assad had agreed to stepping down from power day one.

KURDISTAN INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT
K.I.M.

by: Anonymous
June 03, 2012 9:08 PM
The crazy thing is, the people he is calling terrorists many are the family members of those he killed. Bus drivers, taxi drivers, doctors, construction workers, electricians, police officers, chefs, business managers, none of which are terrorists. They are simply trying to get him the heck out of the country. Run Assad now while you can because you will be held accountable. His entire statement is hogwash, all lies, a coverup. Everyone knows it is his troops driving the tanks blowing up everyones homes, does he think everyone is stupid except him? He has another thing coming!

by: tim dunk from: british columbia
June 03, 2012 3:40 PM
The timing might be inconvenient for the US troops returning from Iraq, but when the enormous cost of demob from Iraq and mobilisation to Syria is weighed in, the logistics of a traverse across the Syrian desert from Iraq is looking more practical every day. Wait and see, but with the crisis reaching that critical overflow point into neighbouring countries, and more calls for outside involvement, we might get sucked into being bad guys again allot sooner than hoped.

by: Iraqi from: iraq
June 03, 2012 2:50 PM
i am sure that the Qaeda and some Islamic members did the masscre

by: Anwar from: Malaysia
June 03, 2012 2:44 PM
Some Western governments blame Damascus for the massacre, but a Syrian government investigation into the deadly incident has shown that anti-Damascus armed groups had carried out the killings to "bring foreign military intervention against the country in any form and way."

This work is similar to recent coordinated incedents of terrorist attacks against israel in India and Thailand, attempted murder of Saudi Ambassador by Iranian dissidents to bring foreign military intervention against Irani n any form and way.

Fact speaks for itself, after Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, US wants a regime change in Syria on behalf of unbreakable bond israel, in order for the US to enforce its solid defacto Islamaphobia policies in mideast nations.

by: Anonymous
June 03, 2012 2:37 PM
Watched his speech and didn't see him smile like you indicated! President Assad was sincere and his words had more truth than you can find coming from western media or other leaders.
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