President Assad on Violence in Syria

President Bashar al-Assad speaks out for the first time since crackdown began.
5:38 | 12/07/11

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Transcript for President Assad on Violence in Syria
ABC news exclusive making global headlines tonight even the State Department is now weighing in on the Barbara Walters interview with Syria's president. For nine months the world has watched helplessly as more than 4000 people have lost their lives in a brutal crackdown there and in that time. -- leader president Bashir Al -- has remained defiant granting no interviews two American journalists until now. Tonight Barbara has returned from Syria after her one on one with president -- asking him face to face about the crackdown. And she takes us out into the streets of Syria. In a moment we'll ask Barbara about the mind of this man. And this interview comes after a string of ABC news exclusives with leaders under fire in February Christiane Amanpour with Egypt's Hosni Mubarak. Then her interview with colonel Gadhafi. And tonight right here Barbara Walters with Syria's president to sought -- -- report. I want to make this could -- say that. The country in general is stable but there are areas of this country and not an hour and a half away. In which there is still fighting and which -- still protests -- do you. Do you receive that is something important people fighting for their freedom. -- but in the few tools if you for freedom you have different components of its three that's pretty -- through. You have -- people who have been convicted. In the quote and do peacekeeping force for -- now. -- -- -- and you have. Like minded people of -- -- and both so it's it's different components. The protests. Began live after the detention and torture. Of children we'll united graffiti -- we again. -- -- -- -- What happen. Why this is such a brutal -- -- -- and why didn't some -- posted -- -- a thirteen year old boy who was arrested in April a month later his body was returned. To expand my bearings -- -- a culture. And famous cartoonist -- you know who was critical review. Badly beaten his songs about the a singer famous singer who wrote a popular song calling for your ouster he was found with his throat cut. You have seen these pictures have you not. No but -- his sister Justina and and it's not new assignment but he fumbled with the although both content and Houston the to have pulled -- cartoonist. And cartoonists who is critical you are seeing his pictures his hands -- and he was beaten. Many people -- particular -- who could who. Most of the people -- -- -- support coupled with government. Public confidence in the thinking these protests the -- marching with children and our practice is. -- -- -- -- It has -- Do you think that your forces. Crack down too -- Not -- closest. Bill me to do for for the bill for the government OK if you had a little bit confident and local become political capital you have to gives you what. -- and not by your command. And you know we don't -- -- Norm Coleman there was no comment too cute quote to be brutal. You're seeing -- sent the pictures. It is stronger president. In jail pictures Sonoma it. -- I offended you -- next. The only thing that you could be fatal -- president. To do with the support of the people suddenly -- it could be a fatal do you feel Ronald that you still have the support of -- people. If you don't have the support of the people who cannot be in peaceful -- The fifth what do you think is very cooperative that it could come through the -- and if you don't -- that the public support what do you. Think it's the biggest misconception. That my country. Hasn't what's happening here. If indeed there is a misconception. We don't kill our people nobody can you -- government can go wouldn't -- its people and its. It's good buddy -- because of -- as president I became president because with the public support. It's impossible -- anyone -- state to be able to compete. Barbara Walters the only American journalist to sit down with him and I was asking about this earlier Barbara what do you make of what's. Going on the mind of its -- Well there's such a -- can -- disconnect people are being tortured he says were being duped. People are being killed he says she didn't order -- the government ordered it but he's the president. So it very hard to understand that she didn't believe this he says that it is not on the brink of a civil war. He says she has -- support of his people he's not a wild crazy managed you can -- It's it some strange to me disconnect. It's interesting you say disconnect the State Department weighed in on your interview saying he appeared utterly disconnected with what's really going on on the ground there. Did you sense that he feels the circle closing in in any way were potential civil war there. No civil war he says -- cares what happens in Syria doesn't care about public opinion -- sanctions they can live through -- sanctions I'm. He doesn't even feel actually so that's why -- say that she didn't who beat this. Where is he getting his information from he's the president. However it's extraordinarily eye opening and -- -- there is much more Barbara we'll have all of her interview with president decide tonight on a special edition of Nightline Syria. The dictator speaks -- thing.

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

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