"We do not kill our people," a defiant President Bashar al-Assad of Syria told ABC News's Barbara Walters in a rare interview broadcast on Wednesday. Assad refused to take responsibility for ordering the bloody crackdown on the protest movement calling for his ouster, which the United Nations estimates has taken the lives of 4,000 people. The increasingly isolated Assad claimed most of the deaths were his own supporters. Now in their ninth month, the Syrian government continues to stubbornly insist the uprisings are fueled by foreign governments like the U.S. and Israel.
Anthony Shadid, Beirut bureau chief for The New York Times, has the latest on the story.