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.

You May Like

Video Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: scott from: minnesota
June 03, 2012 2:31 PM
I think maybe Obama should tell Seal Team Six to stand by.


by: White Hat from: Above Earth
June 03, 2012 2:01 PM
And so he should deny it, it wasn't him, it was al- CIAda ie the CIA.


by: Mvin OnDwn
June 03, 2012 1:51 PM
Assad's using the "Dick Cheney Defense" .


by: Anonymous
June 03, 2012 12:11 PM
What kind of leader takes this long to condemn the killings? He thought he would get away with it, several days later he comes denounces the killings? In the photo I see a man who is smiling inside with no remorse, and trying to get off the hook, I'd like to see him 110% held accountable for all his actions. I also would like to see the Arab community go in and help fellow Arabs, with USA only for backup. Put an end to this insane man killing his very own people.


by: Anonymous
June 03, 2012 12:08 PM
He realises now that the International Criminal Court will likely find him guilty of the slaughters. So this is his line of defence denouncing the violence, and blaming it on others. He is likely nervous of seeing the news in Egypt regarding Mubarak. He is absolutely no different than his father, and deserves what is coming to him. He is trying now to say whatever he can to try and defend himself. Don't believe a word he says.

Comments page of 2
 Previous    

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid