Assad: I Won't Make Peace Deal With Rebels

But admits his gov't has made mistakes
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2013 5:19 PM CDT
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad listens during an interview at the presidential palace in Damascus, Syria.   (AP Photo/SANA)

(Newser) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad admits he's made mistakes ... but gassing his own people wasn't one of them. "We did not use chemical weapons," he insists in a new interview with German magazine Der Spiegel. "This is a misstatement. So is the picture you paint of me as a man who kills his own people." He does, however, acknowledge that his government doesn't have a perfect record in the country's civil war. "There were personal mistakes made by individuals. Every human makes mistakes. A president also makes mistakes," he says, admitting he can't say, "they did everything and we did nothing, 100% and 0%."

Nevertheless, he says, he will not negotiate a peace deal with his opponents. "With the militants? No. Because by its very definition, a political opposition doesn't have an army," he says in the interview, which will run in full on Monday. Assad also described Russia as Syria's "real friends," and hit out at Obama, saying, "The only thing he has is lies," and that, "It seems to me that the West is more confident in al-Qaeda than me." He suggests Germany could act as a middle man. "I would like to see envoys from Germany come to Syria to discuss the reality," he says. (Read more Bashar al-Assad stories.)

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