Posted at 08:52 AM ET, 12/07/2011

Bashar al-Assad denies crackdown in exclusive interview with Barbara Walters

Syria President Bashar al-Assad defiantly denied he ordered a bloody crackdown against protesters in his first interview with an American outlet since the major uprising in his country began in March, sitting down with ABC’s Barbara Walters in Damascus.

Assad claimed instead that most of the thousand of people who died in the unrest were his supporters and soldiers.

When Walters confronted the Syrian dictator with stories and evidence of civilians — including children — having been tortured and killed by security forces, Assad was unrepentant.

“We don’t kill our people,” he said. “No government in the world kills its people, unless it’s led by a crazy person.”

Watch the interview:

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Assad’s regime has been condemned by the West, the Arab League and former allies. He has dismissed all suggestions he step down.

From Egypt, one woman tweeted of the interview:

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By  |  08:52 AM ET, 12/07/2011

Tags:  World, Syria, Bashar Assad, Barbara Walters

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