Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is now denying that his government forces are behind the “outrageous” Houla massacre:
“Truthfully, even monsters do not do what we saw, especially in the Houla massacre. The criminal or criminals who committed this crime and others are not criminals for an hour or criminals for a day, they are constant criminals and are surely planning other crimes.”
Speaking before the newly elected People’s Assembly, al-Assad decried what he called the “terrorists” and “conspiracy” against Syria.
“At this time, we are facing a war from abroad and dealing with it is different from dealing with people from inside.” Al-Assad said.
Al-Assad’s remarks stand in stark contrast to what I believe and what the opposition and many world leaders are saying for more than a year, that al-Assad’s forces, not “terrorists,” are behind a sustained slaughter stemming from the regime’s crackdown on dissidents.
Al-Assad is still insisting:
“The battle is forced upon us. I encourage all of those who are hesitant to drop their weapons at once, and the government will not seek revenge now or later. We forgave others who stood against us in the past. Standing up against the conspiracy is not easy, but we will overcome the obstacles.”
Al-Assad’s presidential address came a day after U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan said Syria is “at a turning point” and that “the specter of all-out civil war, with a worrying sectarian dimension, grows by the day.”