TRANSCRIPT: ABC's Barbara Walters' Interview With Syrian President Bashar al-Assad


Walters: I see. Even some of your armed forces are not remaining loyal. Some of them have defected and some of them are fighting now against you, what do you say to that?

Assad: What do you mean by defected?

Walters: Well they are-- some of your armed forces have left the military.

Assad: But every year, in the normal situation you have thousands of soldiers that fled from the army. You have it normal when you have this situation you have a little bit more you have higher percentage and then you have some few officers that leave the army to be against you and this cannot say if you talk about deflection in the army different from having few people deflecting so we cannot generalize.

Walters: You don't think that they are a great many, you think it's just a few.

Assad: No, otherwise we have different situation. You are in Syria now you see most of the things are stable if you have defection in the army you cannot have stable country or stable major cities like Damascus, Aleppo and the majority of Syria is stable.

Walters: You describe your country now as a stable country?

Assad: In most of the areas, yes. We have trouble we have turbulence but not, not to the extent that you have a divided army. If you have divided army you are going to have real war. You don't have war, you have-- instability is different from war.

Walters: You do not feel now that you are at the brink of a civil war?

Assad: No. No, not because of our policy because of the history of this society.

Assad: We don't think that we are on the brink of civil war because the people are aware about the need to live together that's why.

Walters: I want to make this clear, you say that the country in general is stable, certainly we see here in Damascus since we've been here it's business as usual but there are areas of this country an hour, an hour and a half away in which there is still fighting, in which there is still protest--

Assad: That's true.

Walters: Do you see that as something important, people fighting for their freedom or do you see it as a little something here and a little something there?

Assad: No it's, you have different components. Not everybody is fighting for the freedom, you have people who want freedom and that's why we have reform because we recognize those people and most of the people that they need freedom. Not everybody in the street was fighting for freedom. You have different components, you have extremists, religious extremists, you have outlaws people who have been convicted in the courts and they have been escaping for, for years now.

Assad: Drugs smugglers and you have like-minded people of Al Qaeda and those so it's different components. You have money coming from outside just for the media, uh, propaganda they give money to people they demonstrate for 15 minutes or for half an hour and in the media you see demonstration. You have everything, you have real demonstrations, you have peaceful demonstrations you have militants, you have terrorists, you have everything in the same place sometimes.

Walters: So here you have what seems to be much of the world condemning you so what's the biggest misconception why is there this misconception in the USA, the country is stable, we have some factions what is the misconception?

Assad: First of all who is most of the world, most of the West do you mean?

Walters: Not just the West-- Turkey, well Turkey, Jordan.

Assad: Turkey is not most of the world.

Walters: The members, that is not the West, the members of the Arab League, they are saying to you they are imposing sanctions, some of them are telling you to step down these are your neighbors?

Assad: There is an agenda for those countries. It's not, it's political gain it's not because they don't care about the killing, they don't care about democracy most of these countries they have agenda not going to talk about it now, I am not going to talk about their agenda because we have information but when we have evidence we will announce it. But this is not because they care about the Syrian people.

Walters: Right.

Assad: If we talk about Turkey and the Arab League.

Walters: Yeah.

Assad: But going back to the condemnation no we still have good relation with most of the world and not vice versa, even with the neighboring countries we still have normal relation.

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