President Assad Defiant in Rare Speech

Syrian President slams Western states in first address to nation in over half a year.
1:45 | 01/06/13

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Transcript for President Assad Defiant in Rare Speech
Turning to syria, we heard for the first time from president assad in months. Tonight we asked alex marquardt to read between the lines. Is this a leader who thinks he can survive? Reporter: President assad mobbed by supporters at his first address to the nation in over half a year. In front of the faces of soldiers who had died, he slammed the west and called for political dialogue to end almost two years of war. Regional and western states should stop furnding, arming and sheltering rebels, he said, who should also stop all acts of terrorism. Assad said the military would then stop fighting and peace talks could start. We will negotiate with the ones that are behind those puppets, he said. We want a dialogue with the master, not with the servants. The united nations says the civil war has left more than 60,000 syrians dead. In his only interview with american media during this conflict, assad told abc's barbara walters that his forces targeted terrorists, not civilian protesters. What is the misconception if there is any, about the protests? We don't kill our people. Nobody kills -- no government in the world kills its people unless -- as president, I became president because of the public support. And alex marquardt is with us here in new york tonight. Thank you for your extraordinary reporting over in syria. When you look at this leader, is this someone who you think thinks he's going to be able to last through this? The most striking part of the speech was how confident and collected he seemed. He didn't ramble as he had in the past. This honestly didn't sound like a man who believed his regime was on the brink of collapse.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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