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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
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.

Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid