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CHARLIE ROSE: Mr. President, thank you very much for-- this opportunity to talk to you at a very important moment, because the President of the United States-- will address the nation-- this week. And as you know, an important conversation taking place in Washington, and important things are happening here in your country. Do you expect an air strike? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: As long as the United States doesn't obey the international law and trample over the charter of the United Nations, we have to worry that any administration, not only this one, would do anything. But-- according to the lies that we've been hearing for the last two weeks from high-ranking officials in this administration, we have to expect-- the worst. CHARLIE ROSE: Are you prepared? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: We've been living in different circumstances for the last two years and a half. And we're prepared of-- ourselves for every possibility. But that doesn't mean if you're prepared, some things would be better. It's going to get worse with any foolish strike or stupid war. CHARLIE ROSE: What do you mean worse? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Worse because of the repercussions. Because nobody can tell what the repercussion of the first strike. When you talk about one region, bigger regions. It's not only about Syria, it's interlinked-- region, it's intermingled, interlocked, whatever you want to-- to call. If you strike somewhere, you have to expect the repercussions somewhere else in different forms in s-- in a way that you don't expect-CHARLIE ROSE: Are you suggesting that if in fact there's a strike, there would be repercussions against the United States from your friends in other countries like Iran or Hezbollah or others? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Yeah. As I said, it's-- it may take different forms, direct and indirect. Direct when people wants to retaliate s-- or governments. Indirect when we're going to have instability and the spread of terrorism all over the region that will influence the West directly. CHARLIE ROSE: Have you had conversations with Russia, with Iran-- with

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Hezbollah about how to retaliate? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: We don't discuss-- this issue-- as a government. But we discuss the repercussions, which is more important because sometimes repercussions could be more destroying than the st-- the strike itself. Any American strike will not destroy as much as the rebel-- the terrorists has destroyed in Syria. So sometimes repercussions could be many doubles the strike itself. CHARLIE ROSE: But some have suggested that it might tip the balance in the favor of the rebels-- and lead to the overthrow of your government. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Exactly. Any strike will be as direct support to Al Qaeda offshoot that's called al-Nusra, Jabhat al-Nusra (?) and the Islamic state of Iraq (?) and Syria. You're right about this. It's going to be direct support. CHARLIE ROSE: This is about chemical warfare. And let's talk about that. Do you approve of the use of chemical warfare? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: What do you mean? CHARLIE ROSE: The use of chemicals, deadly chemicals? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Do I-- do I think that we have to use s-CHARLIE ROSE: No. Do you think that it is an appropriate tool of war to use chemicals? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: The chemical? CHARLIE ROSE: Yes. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: We are against any W.M.D., any weapons of mass destruction whether chemical or nuclear. And that-CHARLIE ROSE: So you're against the use of chemical warfare? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Yeah. It's not only me as a state, as a government. In 2001, we proposed to the United Nations-- purported to-- empty or to get rid of every W.M.D. in the Middle East and the United States stood against that proposal. CHARLIE ROSE: But--

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BASHAR AL-ASSAD: So this is our conviction and policy. CHARLIE ROSE: But you're not a signator to the-- chemical warfare-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Not yet. CHARLIE ROSE: --agreement. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Not yet-CHARLIE ROSE: Why not? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Because Israel has W.M.D. and it has to sign. And Israel occupying our land. So that's why we talked about Middle East, not Syria, not Israel. It should be comprehensive. CHARLIE ROSE: Do you consider chemical warfare equivalent to nuclear warfare? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: I don't know. We haven't tried either. (LAUGH) CHARLIE ROSE: Yeah, but you know, you're a head of state and you understand the consequences of weapons that-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: You mean that-CHARLIE ROSE: --don't discriminate-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Tec-- technically, they're not-CHARLIE ROSE: That are beyond-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Yeah, technically, they're not the same. But-CHARLIE ROSE: But. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: --morally, they're the same. CHARLIE ROSE: Morally, they're the same. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: They have the same. But at the end, killing is killing. CHARLIE ROSE: And it's indiscriminate-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Mass killing is mass killing. Sometimes you-- you may kill tens

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of thousands or hundred of thousand with very primitive-armaments. CHARLIE ROSE: Then why do you have suck a stockpile of chemical weapons? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: We don't discuss this issue in public because we never said that we have it. And we never said that we don't have it. It's a Syrian issue. It's a milit-- military issue-- issue. We never discussed in public with anyone. CHARLIE ROSE: This is from The New York Times this morning. "Syria's leaders amassed one of the world's largest stockpiles of chemical weapons with help from the Soviet Union and Iran as well as Western European suppliers and even a handful of American companies, according to American diplomatic cables and declassified intelligence records." You have amassed one of the largest supplies of the chemical weapons in the world. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: To have or not to have is a possibility. But to depends on what the media say is not th-- is nonsense. Or to depend on some of the reports or the intelligence is nonsense. And that has proven when they invaded Iraq ten years ago and they said Iraq has stockpile of-- W.M.D. and it was proven after the invasion that was false. It was fraud. So it cannot depend on what one magazine wrote. But at the end, I said it's nothing-- something not to be discussed with anyone-CHARLIE ROSE: But you-- you accept that the world believes you do have chemical, a stockpile of chemical weapons. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Who? CHARLIE ROSE: The world. The United States-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: We didn't discuss it. CHARLIE ROSE: --and-- and other powers who also have chemical weapons. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: It's not about what they believe in. It's about what the reality that we have. And this reality, we own it, we don't have to discuss-(OVERTALK) CHARLIE ROSE: Speaking of reality, what was the reality on August 21st? What happened, in your judgment?

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BASHAR AL-ASSAD: 01:05:49;26 We-- we're not in the area where the ally-01:05:52;25 (BREAK IN TAPE) * * *TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: REPEATED MATERIAL NOT TRANSCRIBED.* * * BASHAR AL-ASSAD: 01:18:39;22 --where the-- where the alleged chemical attack was happened, as it alleged. We're not sure that anything happened because-CHARLIE ROSE: 01:18:46;22 Even at this date, you are not sure that chemical weapons, even though you have seen the video tape, even though you've seen the bodies, even though-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: 01:18:54;02 No, I have-CHARLIE ROSE: 01:18:54;08 --your own officials have been there. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: 01:18:56;13 I haven't finished. Our soldiers in another area were attacked chemically. Our soldiers. They went to the hospital-- as casualties because of chemical weapons. But in the area where they said the government used chemical weapons, we only had video and we only have pictures and allegations. 01:19:17;12 We're not there. Our forces-- our police, our institutions don't exist. How can you talk about what happened if you don't have evidences? We're not like the American administration. We're not social media administration or government. We are the government that deal with reality-CHARLIE ROSE: Well-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: --when we have evidence (UNINTEL). CHARLIE ROSE: Well, as you know, Secretary-- Kerry has said there is evidence that they saw rockets that fired from-- a region controlled by your forces into a region controlled by the rebels. They have evidence from satellite photographs of that. They have evidence of-- an und-- of a message that was intercepted about-chemical weapons. And-- and that soon thereafter, there were other intercepted messages. So Secretary Kerry has presented what he concludes is conclusive evidence. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: No. He presented his confidence and he presented his convictions. It's not-- it's not about confidence, it's about evidence. The United-- sorry, the Russians have completely opposite evidence that the missiles were thrown from area where the rebels controlled. That reminds me-- about what

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Kerry said-- about the big lie that-- Colin Powell said in front of the world on satellites about the W.M.D. in Iran before going to war when he said, "This is our evidence." Actually, he give-false evidence. In this case, Kerry didn't even present any evidence. He talk, "We have evidence." And he didn't present anything, not yet. Not-- nothing so far. CHARLIE ROSE: Well, the united-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Not-- not single shred of evidence. CHARLIE ROSE: Do you have some remorse for those bodies, those people that is said to be up to at least a thousand or perhaps 1,400 who were in Eastern Ghouta who died? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: We feel pain for every Syrian victim. CHARLIE ROSE: But what about victims of this assault from chemical warfare? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: That is that killing is killing, crime is crime. It's-- when you feel pain, you feel pain about their family, about their-- about the loss that-- that you have in your country, whether one person killed or a hundred, or a thousand. It's a loss. It's a crime. It's a moral issue. We have family that we sit with-- family that they loved their dear ones. It's not about how they kill. It's about they-- they are dead now. This is the bad thing. CHARLIE ROSE: Has there been any remorse or sadness on behalf-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Of course. CHARLIE ROSE: --of the Syrian people for what happened? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: I think sadness prevails in Syria now. We don't feel anything else but sadness because we have this killing every day, whether chemical or whether with the-- with any kind, it's not about how we-- we feel with it every day. CHARLIE ROSE: But this was indiscriminate and children were killed and-- and people who have said goodbye to their children in the morning didn't see them and will never see them again. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: You mean-- which-CHARLIE ROSE: In-- in Ghouta.

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BASHAR AL-ASSAD: 01:22:05;05 01:22:05;10 01:22:05;29 In Ghouta? CHARLIE ROSE: Yes. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: That the case every day in Syria. That's why we have to stop the killing. That's why we have to stop the killing. But what indiscriminate you're talking about? You said indiscriminate-CHARLIE ROSE: Well, the fact that chemical warfare is indiscriminate in who it kills. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Do you have evidence that we-- there was-CHARLIE ROSE: Innocents as well as-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: --chemic-CHARLIE ROSE: --combatants. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Yeah, but w-- you're not talking about evidence. There-- we're not com-- talking about facts. We are talking about allegation. So we-- we're not sure that if there's chemical weapon used and who used it. We cannot talk about virtual thing. We have to talk about facts. CHARLIE ROSE: It is said that your government-- delayed the United Nations, observers, from getting to Ghouta. That you dena-- denied and-and delayed the Red Cross and the Red Crescent from getting there. To make observations and to help. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: The opposite happened. Your government delayed because we asked for delegation in March, 2012 when the first attack happened in Aleppo in the North-- of Syria. And they delayed it till be-- just few days before (UNINTEL) Ghouta when they send-those-- team. And the team itself said in his letter, in his report that he did everything as he wanted. There was not a single obstacle. CHARLIE ROSE: But they have said they were delayed in getting there. They wanted to be there earlier. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: No, no, no. They were-- there was a conflict, there was fighting. They were-- shooting. That's it. We didn't-- prevent them from going anywhere. We-- we-- we asked them to come, why to-why to delay them? Even if-- if you want to take the st-- the

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American story, they say we-- we used the chemical weapons the same day-- the team-- or the investigation team came to Syria. 01:23:43;19 Is it logical? It's not logical. Even if he-- if a country or army wanted to use such-- weapons, he should have waited a few days till the investigation finished its work. It's not logical. The whole story doesn't even hold together. CHARLIE ROSE: We'll come back to it. If you-- if your government did not do it, despite the evidence, who did it? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: We have to be there to get evidence. It's like what happened in Aleppo. When we have the evidences. And because the United States didn't send the team within-- send the evidences to the Russians. CHARLIE ROSE: But don't you wanna-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: This is f-CHARLIE ROSE: --know the answer if you don't-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: But-CHARLIE ROSE: --accept the evidence so far as to who did this? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: The question who throw chemical missile the same day on our soldiers, that-- the same question. Definitely not the soldiers. Soldiers doesn't throw missile on themself. So either the rebels, the terrorists, or third party. We don't have any clue yet. We have to be there-- to collect the evidence and then you can give answer. CHARLIE ROSE: Well, the argument is made that the rebels don't have their capability of using chemical weapons. They do not have the rockets and they do not have the supply of chemical weapons that you have so therefore they could not have done it. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: No. First of all, they have rockets and they've been s-- throwing rockets on Damascus for a month. CHARLIE ROSE: That carry chemical weapons? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Rockets.

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CHARLIE ROSE: 01:25:04;04 01:25:04;22 Right. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Rockets in general. They have the-- the means, first. Second, the sarin gas that they've been talking about for the last two weeks is very primitive gas. You can have it-- don't-CHARLIE ROSE: The sarin gas? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Sarin gas. You can have it done in the backyard of a house. It's very primitive gas. So it's not something completely d-CHARLIE ROSE: But this was not primitive. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Just a second-CHARLIE ROSE: This was a terrible use-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Th-CHARLIE ROSE: --of chemical weapons. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Third, they've been-- they used it in Aleppo in the northern of Syria. Fourth, there's video on YouTube where the terrorists clearly make trial on a rabbit and kill the rabbit and said, "This is how we're going to kill the Syrian people." Fifth, there's a new video about one of the-- of those women who-- they consider as-- a rebel or fighter, what-- whatever, work with those terrorists. And they say-- he say, "They didn't tell us how to use and that-that you-- the chemical-- weapons." And one of those weapon exploded in one of the tunnels and killed the (UNINTEL). That what she said. Those are the evidence that you have. Anyway, the party who accused, he's the one who has to bring evidences. The United States accused Syria. And because they accused, you have to bring evidence. This first of all. We have to find evidences when we are there as a government-CHARLIE ROSE: What evidence would be sufficient for you? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: What evidence-CHARLIE ROSE: Would be sufficient? What evidence-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: For example--

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CHARLIE ROSE: --would prove the case for you-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: For example, in Aleppo, we had-- the missile itself, and bomb material (?) and the sample from the-- from the-CHARLIE ROSE: But-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: --sand, from the soil. And-- sample from the blood. And the-CHARLIE ROSE: But the argument is made that you bombarded, your forces bombarded Ghouta soon thereafter with the intent of covering up evidence. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Okay, l-- how could bombardment cover the evidence? The-technically, it doesn't work. How? This is stupid, to be frank. This is very stupid. CHARLIE ROSE: But you acknowledge the bombardment? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Of course, we-- there was fight. We-- we can-- p-- we-- that's-that happened every day. Now you can have it. But let's talk they have-- you have indications. Let me just tell you this point, because how can you use W.M.D. while your g-- troops only 100 meters away from it? Is it logical? Doesn't happen. It cannot be used like this. Anyone who's not military knows-- this fact. Why do you use chemical weapons while you're advancing? Last year was much more difficult than this year, and we didn't use it. CHARLIE ROSE: There is this question too. If it was not you-- does that mean that you don't have control of your own chemical weapons and that perhaps they are falling into the hands of other people who might want to use them? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: That implies that we have chemical weapons, first. CHARLIE ROSE: Yes. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: That implies that it's been used, second. So we cannot answer this question until we answer the first part and the second part. Third, let's presume that a country or army have these weapons. These kind of armaments cannot be used by infantry, for example, or by anyone. These kind of armaments should be used by specialized units that cannot be in the hand of anyone.

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CHARLIE ROSE: Well, exactly. And that's the point-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Which-- which is controlled sentry. CHARLIE ROSE: Ah. So you're saying that if in fact your government did it, you would know about it and would have approved it? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: I'm talking about general the case of-(OVERTALK) CHARLIE ROSE: If in general, you're saying, "If in fact it happened, I would've known about it and approved it"? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: In g-- generally-CHARLIE ROSE: That's the no-- nature of centralized power-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: In-- in every con-- in every country, yes. When we are part of every country-- I'm talking about the general rules. 'Cause I cannot discuss with this point with you in details, unless I'm telling you what we have and what we don't have. Something I'm not going to discuss, as I said at the very beginning. 'Cause this is military issue that will not be dis-CHARLIE ROSE: Do you question The New York Times article I read to you? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: What do you-CHARLIE ROSE: Saying that you had a stockpile of chemical weapons? You're not denying that. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: No, we don't-- we don't say yes, we don't say no. Because as-as long as it's classified, it shouldn't be discussed with-(OVERTALK) CHARLIE ROSE: How should-- the United States is prepared to launch a strike against your country because they believe chemical weapons are so abhorrent that anybody who uses them crosses a red line. And that therefore, if they do that, they have to be taught a lesson so that they will not do it again. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Hmm. What red line? CHARLIE ROSE: A red line of the use of chemical weapons against your own people--

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BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Who-- who drew it? Who p-CHARLIE ROSE: The president says it was not just him, that the world has drawn it in their revulsion against the use of chemical weapons. That the world has drawn that red line-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: No, it's not the world. 'Cause-- Obama drew that line. And Obama can draw a line for himself and for his country. Not for other countries. We have our red lines, like our sovereignty and our independence. Well, if I want to talk the world drew-- red lines, the United States use Iranian depleted ur-- uranium in Iraq, Israel used f-- white phosphorus in Gaza. And nobody said anything. What about the red lines? We don't see red lines. It's political red lines. CHARLIE ROSE: The president is prepared to strike-- and perhaps we'll get the authorization of Congress or not. The question then is would you give up chemical weapons if it would prevent the president from authorizing a strike? If that is a deal you would accept? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Again, you always imply that we have chemical weapons. CHARLIE ROSE: I have to, (LAUGH) because that's the assumption of the president. That is his assumption and he's the one who will order the strike. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: It's his problem if-- if he has an assumption. But for us, in Syria, we have principles. We'll do anything to prevent the region from another crazy war. It's not only Syria. Because it will start in Syria-CHARLIE ROSE: You'll do anything to prevent the region from having-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: The region. CHARLIE ROSE: --from having another crazy war? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Yes. CHARLIE ROSE: You recognize the consequences for you if there is a strike? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: It's not about me. It's about the region. CHARLIE ROSE: Well, it's about your country. It's about your people--

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BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Of course, of course. Okay, okay. My country and me, we are part of this region. We're not-- we're not separated. It cannot discuss it as Syria or as me. It should be as part, as a whole, as comprehensive. That's how we have to look at it. CHARLIE ROSE: Some ask, "Why would you do it? It's a stupid thing to do if you're gonna bring a strike down on your head by using chemical weapons." Others say you do it because A) you're desperate or in the alternative, you do it because you want other people to fear you, because these are such fearful weapons that if the world knows you have 'em, and specifically your opponents in Syria, the rebels, then you have gotten away with it and they will live in fear. And that therefore, the president has to do something. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: You cannot be desperate when the army is making advancement. That should have happened if, and I said if, if we take into consideration that-- this presumption is correct. And this is reality. You use it when you're in desperate-- desperate-situation. Our position is much better than before. So it's not correct. CHARLIE ROSE: You think you're winning the war? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: I don't know what to-- that is. Winning is a subjective-- word. But we are making advancement. This is the correct word. Because winning for some people is when you finish completely, when you-- when you complete-CHARLIE ROSE: And the argument is made that if you're winning, it is because of the recent-- help you've gotten from Iran and from Hezbollah and-- and addition supplies that have come to your side. People from outside of Syria supporting you in the effort against-- the rebels. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Iran doesn't have any soldier in Syria. So how could Iran help me? CHARLIE ROSE: Supplies, weaponry. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: That's all before the crisis. We always have this kind of-cooperation with-CHARLIE ROSE: Hezbollah-- Hezbollah fighters have been here.

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BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Hezbollah fighters on the border of-CHARLIE ROSE: From outside of the country. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Only on the border with Lebanon where the-- terrorists attacked them, on the border with-- with Lebanon. This is where Hezbollah retaliated. And this is where we have cooperation. And that's good. CHARLIE ROSE: Hezbollah forces are in Syria today? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: On the border area with Lebanon where they want to protect themself and cooperate with is. But they don't exist all over Syria. They cannot exist all over Syria anyway for-- for-- for de-for many reasons. But they exist on the borders. CHARLIE ROSE: What advice are you getting from the Russians? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: About? CHARLIE ROSE: About this war, about how to end this war. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Every friend of Syria looking-- is looking for peaceful solution. And we are convinced about that. We have this advice. And without this advice, we are convinced about that. We fi-CHARLIE ROSE: Do you have a plan to end the war? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Of course. CHARLIE ROSE: Which is? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: At the very beginning, it was f-- fully political. When you have these terrorists, the first part of the same plan which is political, it should start with stopping this marketing of terrorists coming from abroad. Stopping the logistic support, the money, the-- all the cofc-- all kind of supports coming to these-- terrorists. This is the first part. Second, it can have national dialogue where-different Syrian parties sit and discuss the future of Syria. Third, can-- you will have-- interim government or transitional government. CHARLIE ROSE: So you would meet with rebels-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Then-- then-- then you'd have the final-- elections,

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parliamentary-- parliamentary elections. And you're going to have the presidential election. CHARLIE ROSE: But the question is, would you meet with rebels today to discuss a negotiated settlement? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: In the initiative that we issued at the beginning of this year, we said every party with no exceptions. CHARLIE ROSE: So you did-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: As long-- as long as they give up their armaments. CHARLIE ROSE: But you'll meet with the rebels and anybody who is fighting against you-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: We don't have-CHARLIE ROSE: --if they give up their weapons-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: We don't-- don't have problem. It will-CHARLIE ROSE: But then they will say, "You're not giving up your weapons, why should we give up our weapons?" BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Does the government give up-- give-- give-- give up its weapon? Have you heard about that before? CHARLIE ROSE: No, but rebels don't normally give up their weapons-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: The-- the-- the-- g-CHARLIE ROSE: --either during the negotiation. They do that after a successful-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: No, the-- the armament-- of the government is legal armament. Any other armament is not legal. So how can you compare? It's completely different. CHARLIE ROSE: There is an intense discussion going on about all the things we're talking about in Washington. Where there's a strike, it will emanate from the United States' decision to do this. What do you want to say in this very important week in amar-- 'merica, and in Washington, to the American people, to members of Congress-- to the President of the United States. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: I think the most important part of this now is-- let's say the

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American people. But the-- the polls show that m-- the majority now don't-- want a war anywhere, not only against Syria. But-the Congress is going to vote-- about this in a few days. And I think the Congress is elected by the people and represent the people and work for their interests. 01:35:42;18 The first question that they should ask themself, what do wars give America? Things we have (UNINTEL) till now, nothing. No political gain, no economic gain, no good reputation. United States is at all low, dying (?), the credibility is at-- all low-- alltime low. So this war is against the interests of the United States. Why? First of all, because this is the war that is going to support Al Qaeda and the same people that-- kill Americans in the 11-- of September. The second thing that we all want to tell to-- to the-- Congress, that they should ask and that what we expect, we expect them to ask this administration about the evidence that they have regarding the chemical story and the allegations that they presented. I would then tell the-- the president when he have the option (?) 'cause we were disappointed by their behavior recently because we expected this administration different from Bush's-administration. They are operating the same-- doctrine with different accessories. That's it. So we expect if we want to expect something from the-- from this administration, it's not to be weak, to be strong to say that we don't have evidence, that we have to obey-- the international law, that we have to go back to the security council at the United Nations. CHARLIE ROSE: Question remains, what can you say to the president who believes chemical weapons were used and were used by your government, that this will not happen again, that this-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: I will tell him very simply, "Present what you have as evidence to the-- to the public. Be transparent when you p--" CHARLIE ROSE: And if he does? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: If he does? CHARLIE ROSE: If he presents that evidence?

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BASHAR AL-ASSAD: This is where you can discuss the evidence, 'cause he doesn't have. He didn't present it because he doesn't have-- Kerry doesn't have. No one in your administration have. If they had it, they would have presented it to you as media for the-- from the first day-CHARLIE ROSE: They have-- they-- they have presented it to Congress. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Nothing. Nothing was presented-CHARLIE ROSE: They have shown the Congress what they have and the evidence they have from satellites, intercepted messages, and the like. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Nothing presented. CHARLIE ROSE: And-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Nothing has been presented so far. CHARLIE ROSE: They have presented it to the Congress, sir. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: You are-- you are-- a reporter. Get-- get the-- p-- this-- evidence, and show it to the-- to the public in your country. CHARLIE ROSE: They're presenting it to-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: We d-- we tell them-CHARLIE ROSE: They're presenting it to the public's representative. You don't show your evidence and what you're doing and your plans to-to-- the people within your own counsel. They're showing it to the people's representative-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: So you are-CHARLIE ROSE: --who have to vote on-- on authorization to strike. And if they don't find the evidence sufficient-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: First of all, we have the president-- precedent of-- Colin Powell ten years ago when he showed the evidence, it was false and it was forged. This is first. Second, you want me to believe American evidence and don't believe the indication that we have, we live here. This is our area. Our--

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CHARLIE ROSE: Your indications are that what? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Sorry? CHARLIE ROSE: What-- what your indications are that it was-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: That the-- the rebels, or the terrorists used the chemical weapons in northern of Aleppo five month again. CHARLIE ROSE: And on August 21st? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: No, no, no. That was before. That was in ma-CHARLIE ROSE: I know. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: On the 21st, again they used it against our soldiers in our area where we control it. And our soldiers went to the hospital. And you can see that if you want to. CHARLIE ROSE: But the area where that attack took place was controlled by rebel forces. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: The-- that you're talking about, about the chemical attacks? CHARLIE ROSE: Yes. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Yeah, what you-- they have stockpiles and they exploded because of the bombardment. What if they used the missile by coincidence and-- attack themself by con-- by-- by mistake. CHARLIE ROSE: Let me talk-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Not by coincidence, by mistake. CHARLIE ROSE: Yes. Let me move to the question of whether a strike happens. And I touched on this before. You have had had fair warning. Have you prepared by moving possible targets? Are you moving-- targets within civilian populations? All the things that you might have done if you have time to do that and you have had clear warning that this might be coming? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Syria is in a state of forcing the-- its land was occupied for more than-- four-- decades. And the nature of the frontier in Syria implies that most of the army is in inhabited area. Most of the centers are inhabited area. You hardly find any military-- base

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in-- distant-- area from the cities, unless-- it's-- airport or something like this. But most of the military bases or centers-are within inhabited area. CHARLIE ROSE: Will it be attacks against American bases in the Middle East if there is an air strike? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Should expect everything. You should expect everything. No-not necessarily through the government, it's not only-- the governments are not only-- not the only player in this region. We have different parties, we have different factions, you have different ideology. You have everything in this region now. So-you have to expect that. CHARLIE ROSE: Expect-- tell me what you mean by "expect everything." BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Expect every action. Everything-CHARLIE ROSE: Including chemical warfare? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: That depends. If the-- if the rebels or the-- terrorists in this region or any other group have it. It could happen. I don't know. We don't-- I'm not fortune tell-- fortune teller to tell you what's going to happen. CHARLIE ROSE: But we'd like to know more, and I think the president would like to mo-- more-- American people like to know, you know, if there is an attack, you know, what might be the repercussions and who might be engaged in those repercussions. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Before the 11th of September, and my discussion with many of you th-- in the United States, some of them are Congressmen (?), I used to-- to say that don't deal with the terrorists in-- as-playing games. It's a different story. You're going to pay the price if you're not wise in dealing with the terrorists. So nobody ex-- we said there are going to be repercussions of the-- mistaken way of dealing with it, of treating the terrorism. But nobody expected the 11th of September. So you cannot expect. It's difficult for anyone to tell you what is going to happen. It's-- it's early-- everything is on the brink of explosion. You have to expect everything. CHARLIE ROSE: Let's talk about the war today. 100,000 people dead. A million refugees. A country being destroyed. Do you take some responsibility for that?

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BASHAR AL-ASSAD: That depends on the decision that I took from the first day I took the decision as president to defend my country. So-- who killed, that's another question. Actually, the terrorists have been killing our people since the beginning of this crisis two years ago, two years and a half. And-- the Syrian people wanted the government and the state institutions and the army, the poli-police to defend them. And that's what happened. So talking about the responsibility, I took the-- my responsibility according to the Syrian constitution. That said, we have to defend ourself. CHARLIE ROSE: Mr. President, you-- you constantly say it's terrorists. Most people look at the rebels and they say that Al Qaeda other forces from outside Syria are no more than 15% or 20% of the forces on the ground. The other 80% are Syrians, are defectors from your government, and defectors from your military. They are people who are Syrians who believe that their country should not be run by a dictator, should not be run by one family, and that they want a different government in their country. That's 80% of the people fighting against you. Not terrorists. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: No, we didn't say-- 80%, for example, or the majority, or the vast majority are foreigners. We said the majority, the vast majority are Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda offshoots-- organizations in this region. When you talk about the Al Qaeda, it doesn't matter if you're Syrian or American or from Europe or from Asia or Africa. Al Qaeda have one ideology and they go back to the same leadership in Afghanistan or in Syria or in Iraq. That's the question. We-- you have-- th-- tens of thousands of fellne-foreigners that's definitely correct. We are fighting them on the ground and we know-- we know this. CHARLIE ROSE: But that's 15% or 20% of this. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: You-- nobod-- nobody has real-CHARLIE ROSE: But that's a realistic look at how many? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Twenty or-CHARLIE ROSE: Fifteen percent to 20%. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: No, no-- I said nobod-CHARLIE ROSE: Fighters from outside.

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BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Nobody knows because when they are dead and when they are killed, they don't have any I.D. We look at their face. They look foreigners but where are they coming from? How precise this estimate-- it's difficult to tell. But definitely the majority are Al Qaeda. This is what concerns us. Not the ni-- not the nationality. If you have Syrian Al Qaeda, or Pakistan Al Qaeda, or Saudi Al Qaeda, what the difference? What's the matter? The co-- the most important thing is that they-- the majority are alq-- Al Qaeda. We never said that the majority are not Syrians. But we said the ma-- the minority are what they called free-- Free Syrian Army. That what we said. CHARLIE ROSE: Do you believe this is becoming a religious war? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: It started partly as a sectarian war. Sa-- sa-- in some areas, but now it's not because if you talk about sectarian war or religious war, you should have very clear line between the sects and religions in Syria-- according to the geography and the demography in Syria, something we don't have. So it's not religious war. But Al Qaeda always use the-- religions, the Islam actually as pretext and as a cover and as a mantle for their war and for their terrorism and for their killing and beheading and so on. CHARLIE ROSE: Why has this war lasted two and a half years? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Because of the external interference. Because there's in-external agenda-- supported by, or let's say led by the United States, the West, the petroldollar countries, mainly Saudi Arabia, and before with Qatar, and Turkey. That's why it lasted two years and a half. CHARLIE ROSE: But-- but what are they doing, those countries you cited? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: They have different agendas. For the (UNINTEL), they wanted to undermine the Syrian positions. For the petroldollar countries like Saudi Arabia, the thing undermining Syria will undermine Iran-- ir-- Iran on a sectarian basis. For Turkey-- they think that if the Muslim Brotherhood take over the rest of the region-- there will be-- very comfortable, they will be very happy, they will-make sure that-- polit-- they have political future, it's guaranteed. So they have different agendas and different goals.

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CHARLIE ROSE: But at the same time, as I said, you've used Hezbollah and you've gotten support from Iran, from Russia. So what's happening here? Is this-- a kind of-- of war that-- exists because of support from outside Syria on both sides? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: This cooperation. I don't know what you mean by support. We have cooperation with those countries for-- for-- for-- for decades. Why talk about this cooperation now? CHARLIE ROSE: Well, then you tell me, what are you receiving from Iran? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Political support. CHARLIE ROSE: That's it? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: And every-CHARLIE ROSE: No weapons? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Every agreement-CHARLIE ROSE: No weapons, no-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Every agreement, every-CHARLIE ROSE: --support, no-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: No, no, no. There's-- there-- we have agreements with many countries including Iran, including Russia, including other countries that-- it's about-- different things including armament. It's cooperation like any-- like-- like any cooperation between-the-- any two countries. Which is-- normal. It's not related to the crisis. You don't call it support. You call it-- 'cause you pay-- you pay money for what you get. So you don't call it support. It's-- cooperation-- call it whatever you want. But do-- do-- the word support is not precise. We ha-from Russia, for example, we have political support, which is different from the cooperation. We have cooperation for 60 years now. But now we have political support, which is-CHARLIE ROSE: Well, but the Russians have said they have ongoing support for you, b-- beyond just political cooperation. I mean, they have treaties that existed with Syria--

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BASHAR AL-ASSAD: 01:48:38;20 01:48:39;08 01:48:42;28 Exactly. CHARLIE ROSE: --and then they provide all kinds of-- of defensive weapons. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Yeah. You said it, treaties. And you said-- and the-- the official-the Russian official (?) said, "We have-- not agreements, contracts that we have to forfeit." And those contracts, like any country, you buy armaments, you buy anything you want. CHARLIE ROSE: But-- but do you believe this has become a conflict of Sunni versus Shia? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: No, not yet. It's in the mind of the Saudis at this-- in the minds Wahhabists. CHARLIE ROSE: In the minds of the Iranians? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: No, no. They actually, what they are doing, this-- the opposite. They tried to open channels with the Saudi, with the-- with many other Islamic-- entities in the-- in this region in order to-- to talk about Islamic society, not Sunni and Shia societies. CHARLIE ROSE: Was there a moment for you as you saw the Arab Spring approaching Syria, that you said, "I've seen what happened in Libya, I've seen what happened in Tunisia, I've seen what happened in Egypt. It's not gonna happen to Bashar al-Assad. I will fight anybody who tries to overthrow my regime with everything I have." BASHAR AL-ASSAD: No, for one reason. Because-- the q-- first question that I ask, "Do I have public support or not?" The first question that I ask as president. If I don't have the public support, whether there's Arab-- what's-- the so-called Arab Spring, it's not spring any-anyway. But whether we have this or we don't, if you don't have public support, you have to quit. You have to leave. If you have public support in any cil-- circumstances, you have to stay. That's your mission. You have to help the people. You have to-- to-- to serve the people. So-- and I never said-- yeah, sorry. CHARLIE ROSE: No, go ahead. When you say "public support," people will point to-- Syria and they say, "A minority sect, Alawites, control a majority Sunni population. And it's a dictatorship-- and they do it because of force of their own instruments of power." That's

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how-- that's what you have. Not public support for this war against-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Now it's being-CHARLIE ROSE: --other Syrians. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Yeah, now you've been-- it's been two years and a half, okay? Two years and a half and Syria is still withstanding against the United States, the West, Saudi Arabia, the richest country in the-- in-- in this area, including Turkey. And taking into consideration what your question implies, that even the big part, or the bigger part of the Syrian population against me, how can I-- withstand (UNINTEL) today? I'm either-- superhuman or superman, which is not the case. CHARLIE ROSE: Or you have a powerful army. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: The army made of the people. It cannot be made of robots. It's made of people, the pe-CHARLIE ROSE: Surely you're not suggesting that this army is not-- at your will and the will of your family. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: How can you-- how-- what-- what do you mean by the will of the family? CHARLIE ROSE: The will of your family. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: If-- if-- if-- if-CHARLIE ROSE: Your brother is in the military. The military has been at-- I mean, every observer of Syria believe that this is a country controlled by your family and controlled by the Alawites, who are your allies. That's the control. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: If that situation is correct, what you're mentioning, wouldn't have withstand for two years and a half. We would have disintegration of the army, disintegration of the whole institution in the-- states, we would have disintegration of Syria if that the case. It cannot be tolerated in Syria. I'm talking about the normal reaction of the people. If it's not national army, it cannot have the support. And if it doesn't have the public support of every sect, it cannot do its job and advance recently. It cannot. It cannot be the-- the-- the

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army or the family doesn't make national war. CHARLIE ROSE: Some will argue that you didn't have the support, because in fact the rebels were winning before you got the support of Hezbollah-- and-- and in large support, from the Iranians, that you were losing and then they came in and gave you support so that you were able to at least start winning and produce at least a stalemate. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: No, the context is wrong. Because talking about winning and losing is like if you are talking about two armies fighting on two territory, which is not correct. It's not the case. Those are gangs coming from abroad, infiltrated inhabited area, killed the people, take their houses, and shoot at the army. The army cannot do the same. And the army doesn't exist everywhere-CHARLIE ROSE: But-- but they control a large part of your country. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: No. They took-- every part-- they went to every part where there's no army in it. And the army go to-- to clean, to get rid of them. They don't go and attack the army in-- in area where the army occupied that area and took it from it. It's completely different. It's not-- it's not correct. Or it's not precise, what you're talking about. So it's completely different. The army, what-- what the army is doing, is to clean those areas and the indication that the army is strong, that is making advancement in that area. It never went to one area and couldn't enter to it. That the indication. How could that army do that if it's a family army or a sect army? What about the rest of the country who support the-- the government? It-- it-- it's not realistic. It doesn't happen. Otherwise, the whole country will collapse. CHARLIE ROSE: One small point about American involvement here. The president's gotten s-- significant criticize-- because he has not supported the rebels more. As you know, there was an argument within his own councils from Secretary of State Clinton, from C.I.A. Director David Petraeus, from the Defense Department, Leon Panetta, the Secretary of Defense-- and others that they should've helped the rebels two years ago and we would be in a very different place. So the president-- has not given enough support to the rebels in the view of many people. And there's criticism that when he made a recent decision to give support-- it has not gotten to the

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rebels, because they worry about the composition. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: If the American administration wanted to support Al Qaeda, go ahead. That what they ha-- we have to tell them. Go ahead and support Al Qaeda. But don't talk about rebels and Free Syrian Army and so on. The majority of fighters now are Al Qaeda. If you want to support them, you are supporting Al Qaeda. You are creating havoc (?) in the region, (TAP) and if this region is not stable, the whole world cannot be stable-CHARLIE ROSE: With respect, sir, most people don't believe the majority of the forces are Al Qaeda. Yes, there is-- a number of people who are Al Qaeda affiliates and-- and who are here, who's subscribed to the principles of Al Qaeda. But that's not the majority of the forces. As you know, I mean, you know that the composition differs within the regions of Syria as to the forces that are fighting against your regime. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: The American (UNINTEL) should learn to deal with reality. Why do the United State failed in most of its wars? Because it always based its war on the wrong information. So whether they believe or not, this is not reality. I have to be very clear and very honest. I'm not-- tell-- asking them to-- to believe that if they don't want to believe. This is the reality. I'm telling you the reality from our country. We live here. We know what's happening. And they have to listen to people who live here. They cannot listen to their-- only to their media or to their research centers. They don't live here. No one live here but us. So this is the reality. If they-- if they want to believe, that's good. That will help them understanding the region and being more successful in their policies. CHARLIE ROSE: Many people think this is not a sustainable position here, that this war-- it-- cannot continue because the cost for Syria is too high. Too many deaths, 100,000 and counting-- too many refugees, too much destruction. The soul and-- of a country at risk. If it was for the good of the country, would you step down? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: That depends on the relation between me saying in this position and the conflict. I cannot discuss it just to say, "You have to step down." Step down why? And what the expected result, this is first. Second-- when you're in the middle of a storm, leaving your country just because you have to leave without any-- reasonable-- reason-- it means you're getting-- you're quitting your country and this is treason. So--

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CHARLIE ROSE: It would be-- you're saying it would be treason for you to step down right now because of your obligation to the country-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Unless-- unless the public wants you to quit. CHARLIE ROSE: And how will you determine that? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: By the two years and a half withstanding, without the public support, we cannot-- we cannot withstand two years and a half. Look at the other country, look at what happened in Libya and Tunisia and Egypt. CHARLIE ROSE: Do you worry about that? What happened to Gaddafi, what happened to-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: No, we are worrying that the rebels are taking control in many countries, and look at the results now. Are you satisfied as American with the results? Nothing. Very bad. Nothing good. CHARLIE ROSE: There was a report recently that-- that you had talked about or someone representing you had talked about some kind of deal in which you and your family would leave the country if you were guaranteed safe passage-- if you were guaranteed there would be no criminal prosecution. You're aware of these reports? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Yeah. We have these guarantee from the first day of the crisis. (LAUGH) CHARLIE ROSE: Because of the way you've acted? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: No, because the agenda that I t-- talk about, some of these agendas wanted me to quit. Very simply. So they said, "We have all the guarantees if you want to leave. And all the money and everything you want." (LAUGH) Of course, I just-- ignore that. CHARLIE ROSE: So you've been offered that opportunity? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Yeah, but it's not about me, again. It's-- I'm not fight-- it's n-- it's not my fight, it's not the fight of the government. It's the fight of the country, of the Syrian people. That's how we look at it. It's not about me. (RUSTLING) It's not-CHARLIE ROSE: It's not about you?

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BASHAR AL-ASSAD: It's n-- it's about every Syrian. CHARLIE ROSE: What in the end-- what's the end game-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Okay, of-- of-- of this war? CHARLIE ROSE: Yes. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: It's very simple. When the Western countries stop-- stop supporting those terrorists, and making pressure on their puppets' country and clide-- client states like Saudi Arabia and Turkey and others, you will have-- you will have no problem in Syria. It will be solved easily. Because the-- those fighters, the Syrian part that you're talking about lost its natural incubators in the Syrian society. They don't have incubator anymore. That's why they have incubator abroad. They need money from abroad. They need the moral support and po-- political support from abroad. 'Cause they don't have any grassroots, an incu-- incu-- an incubator. So when you stop this smuggling, we don't have problems-CHARLIE ROSE: Yeah, but at the same time, as I've said before, you have support from abroad. There are those who say you will not be able to survive without the support of Russia and Iran. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: No, it's not me. I don't have support, all the-CHARLIE ROSE: Your government would not be able to support-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Not me or Syria. CHARLIE ROSE: --survive. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Every agreement is between every class and every sector in Syria. Government, people-- trade-- military-- culture, everything. It's like the operation between your country and any other country in the world. They're the same corporation. It's not about me. It's not support for the crisis. CHARLIE ROSE: I mean about your government. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Yeah.

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CHARLIE ROSE: You say that the rebels only survived because they have support from Saudi Arabia and Turkey and the United States and Qatar perhaps-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: No, the difference-CHARLIE ROSE: And I'm saying that they say-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: No, no, no. CHARLIE ROSE: --you only survived-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: No. CHARLIE ROSE: --because-- you have the support of Russia and Iran and Hezbollah-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: No, n-- the external support can never substitute internal support. Can never, for sure. And the p-- the example that you have to-- to look at-- very well-- Egypt and-- Tunisia. They have all the support from the West and from the Gulf and then from the-- most of the countries in the world. What they don't have support within their country, they couldn't continue more than how many weeks? Three weeks. So the only reason we stand here for two years and a half because we have internal support, public support. So any external support, if you want to call it support, let's use this word, it's going to be additional. But it's not base (?) to depends on more than the Syrian support. CHARLIE ROSE: You and I have talked about this before. And we remember Hama and your father, Hafez al-Assad. He ruthlessly set out to eliminate the Muslim Brotherhood. Are you simply being your father's son here? BASHAR AL-ASSAD: I don't know what you mean by ruthlessly, because-CHARLIE ROSE: You know what happened at Hama. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: I've never heard the war-- soft war. Have you heard about soft war? There is no soft war. War is a war. Any war is ruthless. And when you fight terrorists, you fight them like any other war. CHARLIE ROSE: So the lessons--

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BASHAR AL-ASSAD: 02:02:34;06 02:02:34;13 Sorry. CHARLIE ROSE: --you have here are the lessons you've learned from your father and what he did in Hama, and-- which it is said m-- and influenced you greatly. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: The-- said what? Sorry. CHARLIE ROSE: It is said that what your father did at Hama influenced you greatly in terms of your understanding of what you have to do. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Good question, what would you do as American if the terrorists invading your country from different areas and started killing tens of thousands of-- Americans-CHARLIE ROSE: You keep saying he's a terrorist, but in fact, it is a popular revolution, people believe-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: No. CHARLIE ROSE: --against you that was part of the Arab Spring that influenced some of the other countries. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Revolution should be Syrian. Cannot be revolution imported from abroad. (OVERTALK) CHARLIE ROSE: But it didn't start from abroad. It started here. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Here, but those people that started here, they support the government now. Again (UNINTEL) that what you don't know. Do-- you don't know as American, you don't know as a reporter. That's what-- that's why talking about what happened at the very beginning is completely different from what's happening now. It's not the same. There's very high dynamic things that have cha-- s-- are changing on daily basis. So it's completely different-- image. Those people, though, who wanted revolution, they are cooperating with us. CHARLIE ROSE: I'm asking you again. Is-- is it, in fact, you being your father's son, and you believe that the only way to drive out people is to eliminate them the same way your father did. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: In-- in being independent, yes. In fighting terrorism, yes. In defending the Syrian people and the country, yes.

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CHARLIE ROSE: When I first interviewed you-- there was talk of "Bashar alAssad, he's the hope. He's the reformer." That's not what they say anymore. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Who? CHARLIE ROSE: People who write about you, people who talk about you, people who-- analyze Syria and your regime. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Exactly. So the hope for American is different from the hope of Syrian. For me, I'm the hope of-- I should be the hope of the Syrian, not any other one. Not American, not-- no American, neither French, or anyone in the world. I'm president to help Syrian people. So this question should start from the hope of the Syrian people. And if there's any change regarding that hope, we should ask the Syrian people. Not anyone else in the world. CHARLIE ROSE: But now they say, their words, a "butcher." Comparisons to the worst dictators ever to walk on the face of the earth. Comparing you to them. Using weapons-- that go beyond warfare. Everything they could say bad about a dictator, they're now saying about you. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: First the following have-- doctor who cut the leg to prevent the patient from the gangrene, if you have to, we don't call him butcher, we call him doctor. And you-- thank you for sa-- saving the lives. When you have terrorism, you have a war. When you have a war, you always-- you always have innocent lives that could be-- the victim of-- of any-- war. So-- you cannot talk about-- we-- we-- we don't have to discuss what-- what the image in the West before discussing the image within Syria. That the question. CHARLIE ROSE: It's not just-- it's just not the West. I mean, it's the East and it's the Middle East and, I mean, you know, the eyes of the world have been on Syria. We have seen atrocities on both sides, but on your side as well. They have seen brutality by a dictator that they say-BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Okay, so we have to-CHARLIE ROSE: --put you in a category with the worst. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Yeah. So we have to allow-- the terrorists to come and kill the

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Syrians and destroy the country much, much more? This is where you can be a good president? That's what you im-what-- what you imply. CHARLIE ROSE: But you can't allow the idea that there is opposition to your government from within Syria. That is not possible for you to imagine. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: To-- to imagine that we have opposition? CHARLIE ROSE: Yes. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: We have it and go-- you can go and meet with them. We have some of them within the government, we have some of them outside the government. They are opposition. We have it. CHARLIE ROSE: But those are the people who have been fighting against you. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Opposition is different from terrorism. Opposition is a political movement. Opposition doesn't mean to take-- armament and kill people and destroy everything. Do you call the people in Los Angeles in the '90s, do you call them rebels or opposition? What would the British call the rebels less than two years ago in London? Do-- did they call them opposition or rebels? Why should we call them opposition? They are rebels. They are not rebels even, they are terror-- they are behaving-- this opposition opposing country or government by behaving by barbecuing head, by eating the hearts of your victim? Is that opposition? What do you call the people who attacked-- the two towers in the 11th of September. Il-- opposition? Even though they are not American, I know this. But some of them, they have, I think, national-- nationality. I think one of them has-- American nationality. Do you call him opposition or terrorist? Why should you use a term in the United States and-- England and maybe other countries and use another term in Syria? This is a double standard that we don't accept. CHARLIE ROSE: I once asked you what you feared the most. And you said, "The end of Syria as a secular state." BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Yeah. CHARLIE ROSE: Is that end already here?

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BASHAR AL-ASSAD: According to what we've been seeing recently, the area where the terrorists control, where they ban people from going to schools, then-- young men from shaving their beards and women have to wear c-- to be covered from top to toes, from head to toes-- and let's say in brief they live the Taliban style in Afghanistan, completely the same style. With the time, yes, it can be worried (?). Because the secular state should-02:08:58;04 (BREAK IN TAPE) * * *TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: REPEATED MATERIAL NOT TRANSCRIBED.* * * BASHAR AL-ASSAD: 02:09:50;00 --should reflect-- secular society. And this secular society, with the time, if you don't get rid of those terrorists and these excitizen and the Wahhabism style, of course it will influence at least the new and the coming generations. So and we-- we don't say that we don't have it. We're still secular in Syria. But with the time, this secularism will be eroding. CHARLIE ROSE: 02:10:15;06 Mr. President, thank you for allowing us to have a conversation about-- Syria and a war that is within as well as-- the future of the country. Thank you. BASHAR AL-ASSAD: 02:10:26;00 Thank you for coming to here. * * *END OF TRANSCRIPT* * * 02:08:25;01

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