Inside Syria: Who is President Bashar Al-Assad?

The Syrian president sat down for a 2011 interview with ABC's Barbara Walters to discuss how he treats protesters in his country.
9:11 | 04/14/18

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Transcript for Inside Syria: Who is President Bashar Al-Assad?
Tonight the U.S. Launched and attack on Syria in a operation with British and fr for ABC world news tonight damu rtificate Beirut with the la As you can see, it isly morning in the mooeft in Beirut the sun has coming up, as it has over Sia where they have realized that theree been u.s.-led air strikes. It's something they expecting somewhat, since earlier in T week president tr in hisets signaling the world that the missiles weremi shortly after 9:00 P.M. Eastern T trump Ades American people telling them T precision air strikes had come. W aimed as chemical weapons weapons capabilities cilities across Syria and T their strikes were being accomplished with T help ofk and France. In fact, it was French president Emanuel macron S earlier that there was no that chemal weapons had been used. E images seen were talked about not back in the U.S. But around the world. The women and children agony. Attack. He talked abouthend children gasping fir and these people were a monster, speaking of Assad. Assad tonight has issued a Ying saying G people, good so will not be humiliated. Obviousle's waking up to see capabilitif clechs facilities. As we , there are 0 U.S. Troopsworking andperating inside syr R now. It isieved they are complesave. One thing the dse department, ja mad is said repeatedlyhat they tried to minimize any risk ass on the ground. No word on whether or anyone was hurt inny of these ai strikes. Back to you. Thank Yo David. As a short while ago that present trump addressed the nation, outlining the reasons tonight's air strikes. In casting blame on ia and an. My fellow amans, a short time ago I ordered the U.S. Military force to launch gets on location associated with chemical weapons capabilities of bashar Al Assad. U.S. Along with France and the united kingdomav launched a strike against Syria. Pump O our attack is to estah a strong deterrent against the production, S and use of ccal weapons. James mad is described the acs limited for This is a one-time shotnd I believ has send a str message to deter him from doing this a. Rter: The strike comes a week after aep chemical attack ouma. The evil and despicable attack left mothers and others, infants and children thrashing in pain and gaspinair. The presidentondemning not only the Ator, but the two countries who primary support hi regime. O in and to Russia I what kind of nation wants to be associ withhe mass murder of innocent men, women, and children? Reporter: Pressing Russia give up its support of Assad. Rus M decide if it will inue down this dark path or T will join with civilized nas as a force for stability peace. Hopefully some we'll get along withsia and maybe even Iran, but maybe not. Eporter: LE tonight the Russian B in the U.S. Issued a statement Ng our warnings have been left unard. A predesigned scerioas been implemented. We worry that such actions will not be left without consequences. Marthaaddatz is in Washington tonight withmore. Martha? Uy Ron, the mis strikes struck only three targets, chemical weapons infrastructure. Thrst target a scientific arch cent a center re development production and testing of biologil chemical warfare technology. A storage facility west of Holmes the primary location of Syrian and thehirdtains storage facilities, an important, they say, command post. Pentago said the strikes would be sustained but by that, D not mean continuous. Ey mean if Assad uses chemical ons again, they hit him again. Secretary mad is says this is a one-time shot. This is over. We do expect anymore strikes again unless Assad usesmical weapons again. They onlyse about 120 cruise miss in this attack. The 59 tomahawk missiles last year hit T airfield and the airfield was up and running in days. This was a quick coordinated strike with the French and British and U.S. The Russians were not given a target . They were last year. They W warned what would be T, but there was some dection going the U.S. Did commute with the Russians what airspacey would be using, so the have ahi. Byron? Ant T bring in retired marineel time we're learning there weultipletargets. Can yoell us specifically what was said and what was scope the attack? Thelgts were similar. Were all chemical weapons, with production facilities, places where they stored chemical wpons. Although the target set was very much like last year inng these facilities there were a greater number of facilities hit this tross all of a. And W can you tell us about coalition forces in the region? Well, this was a T combine operation. We had U.S., French, and British air and perhaps u.s.nd inch ships at sea, all launching theseisissiles to hit the Vario ound Syria that allhree countries had agreed on Reporter: Now, this attack, you think,eter chemical weapon attacks the Syrian people again byassad? This was more of a pumplg in the arm than a punch in th nose. I think Ano way to look at this iyb this is the same message president trump said last year, just shout it er. It's not a new message. It didn't hurt assadhi it's just atronger warning not to usehemical weapons. Whether that's effee, we Canon wait and see. Steve, thank you so much. Thanks. Let's bring in ABC new white house correspondent cecia Vega. Throughout wee the esident said he wa weighing his options before his decision night, criticized some for te his did he come to tonight's Deon? Reporter: He started the week with the top gens in the white house behind closed doors. This is not an easy decision for P the white house aides have told he was moved on aeeply rsonal level by seeing the images ohose children in syri know, he's a grandfather. Remember that, and he had said the first Tim around when he authorized these attacks a year ago that that is what moved them. The there are reports, though, that he didn't necessarily get all the plans laid out the he wanted. Wd a tough hard punishment for Syria and that wasnn the initial round punishments of the attacks he received from his gene, so he pushed himhard not just to punish Syria, but tounish Russia. It looks like then he got is one he is happth. L talk about the politics, the optics of this evening W all that' on with a thishite house? Thisay started hours ago wi the president tweeting at his former FBI directo James Comey launching the attack calling him a leaker and a liar saying he should be prosecuted aside from that his own attorney's off his private attorney's home and office has been raided in recent days. He's got a lot going on that led up to decision in Syria and I think a lot O people are wondering on whethers able to fully concentrate W everything going on around him. A full day the white house, for sure. Thank you so much.

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

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