On Thursday morning, the AP published a lengthy interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The embattled leader lied about his regime – and the U.S. – on multiple occasions.
It is a remarkable thing for the Associated Press to gain access to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a brutal civil war that has displaced millions and devastated the country and surrounding region.
Despite tough questions from the AP, though, Assad told several lies throughout the interview about the actions of his regime and of the U.S.-backed coalition opposing the government.
Here are the three most egregious lies:
“WE DON’T KILL CIVILIANS”
Faced with the accusation he used barrel bombs against his own people and violated human rights, Assad claimed his regime doesn’t “kill civilians”:
We don’t kill civilians, because we don’t have the moral incentive, we don’t have the interest to kill civilians. It’s our people, who support us. If you want to kill the Syrian people, who’s going to support us as a government, as officials? No one.
What does the evidence say? Well, just last month alone government forces “killed 898 civilians including 247 children,” according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights. Of all the casualties in the Syrian civil war, “Assad’s violent regime has been linked to about 75 percent.” And the U.N. confirmed last month that Assad’s regime “used chlorine gas on its population.”
“WE DON’T ATTACK ANY HOSPITAL”
The AP told Assad he “stands accused of targeting medical and rescue workers as they race to save lives.” Assad issued a categorical denial:
There is no good war. In any war, people will pay the price, but I’m talking about the policy of the government, of the army; we don’t attack any hospital. We don’t have any interest in attacking hospitals.
The evidence? In July, the Assad regime – and/or Russia – “bombed four hospitals, rebel-held Aleppo’s only blood bank and a forensic pathology lab.” The Russian government is allied with Assad’s regime. In April, Secretary of State John Kerry condemned a “deliberate strike,” likely from the Assad regime, on a children’s hospital.
ACCUSES U.S. OF COORDINATING WITH ISIS
When asked about the U.S. airstrike that mistakenly targeted the Syrian government, Assad accused the U.S. of coordinating with ISIS:
At the same time, the ISIS troops or the ISIS militants attacked right away after the American strike. How could they know that the Americans are going to attack that position in order to gather their militants to attack right away and to capture it one hour after the strike? So it was definitely intentional, not unintentional as they claimed.
Of course, the notion the U.S. is coordinating and/or allied with ISIS is absurd. The U.S. has spent billions fighting ISIS since 2014, and is coordinating with everyone from the Iraqi military to Syrian Kurds to eliminate ISIS in their bases of Mosul and Raqqa.
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