DEFIANT

Assad Denies Syrian Brutality

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is sticking to his story that the violence in his country is an armed uprising, not a protest against his rule. In an interview with Barbara Walters, Assad said most of the people who have died are his own supporters and troops. When Walters pointed to the many reports of civilians being tortured and murdered, Assad said, "To be frank with you, Barbara, I don't believe you.” Despite condemnation from the Arab League and reports from the United Nations that put the civilian death toll above 4,000, the Syrian regime insists it is besieged by foreign plotters and armed gangs. In response to Assad's comments in the interview, the U.S. State Department's deputy spokesman said today that the Syrian President seemed "utterly disconnected from the reality that's going on in his country and the brutal repression that's being carried out against the Syrian people. It's either disconnection, disregard or, as he said, crazy. I don't know."