In an exclusive for Fox News, Bashar Al Assad appeared on television for an hour-long interview Wednesday night, manly discussing the agreement reached between the Syrian and U.S. governments regarding the disposal of Syria's chemical weapons. Assad indicated he would obey the deal made, denied his government's use of chemical weapons, expressed some skepticism that the gas sarin was used, and disagreed with defining the conflict in Syria as a 'civil war'.
Regarding the chemical weapons in Syria, Assad seemed to acknowledge they had a stockpile, including sarin gas, and said he would comply with the plans made to turn them over, stating Syria has never made an agreement they did not fulfill. However, he denied that it was due to the threat of US intervention, claiming that Syria ten years ago proposed a "WMD-free zone in the Middle East".
Syria's government, however, has previously refused to sign an international treaty against chemical weapons, and has only recently even acknowledged it has a stockpile of sarin gas, according to the Washington Post. "We never said 'no', we never said 'yes'." Assad said when confronted by this, "What we always said was 'classified issue'". Assad denied that the agreement was a 'delay tactic', but admitted that some say it may take a year for the chemical weapons to be disposed of.
When questioned about a sarin attack in August that killed, according to US estimates, over a thousand people, including possibly two-hundred children, Assad claimed he was uncertain if an attack even took place, citing that the UN's information was "different from evidence", that no one has verified the videos of men, women, and children struggling to breath, and that blood samples taken from the scene (which point to sarin poisoning) could be a forgery.
Assad also denied his government's use of sarin and blamed the attack on the Syrian rebels, claiming that anyone can make the sarin gas that was used. However, according to a recent UN report, the sarin used was high-quality, projected from rockets which the Syrian rebels have not been known to have access to, and was most likely fired from territory held by Assad's forces.
Assad moved on to deny that the war in Syria was a civil war, claiming foreign terrorists made up the majority of rebels, claiming 80-90% of them were Al Qaeda affiliates. Most reports, according to the Fox News reporters, estimate Al Qaeda supporters to only make up 10% of the resistance.
Assad also claimed most refugees left because of the rebel fighters, and denied claims that his government was responsible for the estimated 50,000 civilians killed, saying rebel forces would use civilians as "meat shields". When asked if his government was responsible for any of the deaths, Assad said that all wars were dirty, and earlier compared his job to his previous profession as a doctor, stating that "sometimes they [doctors] have to extract the bad member that could kill the patient."