Syrian president's statement on security forces 'ludicrous,' U.S. says
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
December 6th, 2011
05:49 PM ET

Syrian president's statement on security forces 'ludicrous,' U.S. says

By CNN's Charley Keyes

The State Department was quick Tuesday to challenge comments by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that he did not have control of his country's security forces amid the bloody crackdown on his political opponents.

"I find it ludicrous that he is attempting to hide behind some kind of shell game, but also some sort of claim that he doesn't exercise authority in his own country," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

"He has had opportunities in the past to end the violence," Toner said, listing initiatives presented by the Arab League, Turkey, other countries and the United Nations.

"He has rejected all of them, usually through a long, convoluted process where he plays for time" Toner said at his afternoon briefing at the State Department. "There is just no indication he is doing anything other than cracking down in the most brutal fashion on a peaceful opposition movement."

Toner was responding to a question about an ABC television interview Monday conducted by Barbara Walters with al-Assad. An ABC producer said that the al-Assad told Walters, "I am the president. I don't own the country so they are not my forces"; and "There is a difference between having a policy to crack down between having some mistakes committed by some officials. There is a big difference."

Also Tuesday, the State Department announced that U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford is returning to Syria, and is scheduled to arrive late Tuesday. Amid fears for Ford's personal safety, he was brought back to Washington six weeks ago, "for consultations" in diplomatic-speak.

His return coincides with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's meeting with members of the Syrian opposition in Geneva, and is an additional signal of the Obama administration's outreach to critics of al-Assad.

Toner said the Syrian government had been informed of Ford's return and the United States expects Syria to live up to its responsibility to protect the ambassador.

"He's going to continue the same kind of work he did previously, which is delivering our message of support for the Syrian people and trying to provide reliable reporting on the situation on the ground, and engaging as best he can, given the limitations, the full spectrum of Syrian society on how to both end the bloodshed and begin a democratic transition," Toner said.

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    • ammo

      how do you know? is it from what you media tell you, listen to the full interview and then comment

      December 12, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Reply
    • Romih

      I do not know how Mr. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad thinks, after he kiling childern he make others sick by his words and help him by listen, very strange murder.

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    December 12, 2011 at 1:50 am | Reply
    • ammo

      This photo was taken in one of the religeous Eid, where all people meet in the mosque and prey to god to forgive them and help them to forgive others.

      what do think that the USA presedent thinks of himself when he gives order to bomb civilians in other countries, or order the police officers to kick and arrest demontrator in USA, when they express their opinions or demontrates against government strategy. Anyway watch this link and I would like to hear you opinion about USA media

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        You WISH you lived in the USA.
        Fortunately, we don't allow your kind here.

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      it is in deed, and you should be careful of what the news throw at you.
      Listen to this link and share you opinion

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  74. Tony

    To nellkhoury you may be one of ASSAD thugs and you are blinded with hate. Assad has a bad plan for the christians in syria and lebanon. He will intimidate them and will creat various senarios for that. Christians in the Middle East has to be powerful and need to take a firm stand collectivelly. Christians in the region has suffered from Assad brutal grip and they have to join the freedom movement against all dictators . You have to know Mr. Khoury your name is arabic and christians have lived with muslim for thousands of year in good and bad time. Syria problem is a global one and will affect USA and its alies.

    December 8, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Reply
    • ammo

      What is your proof for these claims, have been to Syria?? have you seen how Christian and Muslims live peacefully there, I would like to share with you this link, and I hope you can share your resources about what you said in you comment. do not beleive what the media tell you, do your own research before you form your opinion about others

      December 12, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Reply
    • markus

      what about the american goverments beating and aresting peacfull protesters and survailencing muslims for beeng muslims.
      and Us dear to juge the midel east? USA GET YOUR TROOPS HOME THEY GOT NOTING IN ABOUT 200 CONTRYS TO DO!
      free the world of the us invation

      December 15, 2011 at 11:18 am | Reply
  75. Tony

    The family of Assad has history of schizophrenia as a disease which has affected one of Bashar brother possibly Maher with known history of therapy. There is also suspecious and circulating rumors that the president himself has a known psychiatric issues prevented his father to choose him as a succesor and to his brother who was killed in a car accident. When Bashar Al Assad said he is not in charge he mean that...... You can clearly see how much he is dissociated from reality on the ground. He is not delusional now but he is responsible to be charged with crime against humanity since he is capable to make this interview with MRS Walter. This is a proven fact that he is accountable and liable infront of Hage for crime against humanity. Bashar may claim he is pscychotic in the future to protect him personally. The world has now a moral committment to help the region to get rid of him and those ugly people around him to save the whole world from escallation and war.

    December 8, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Reply
  76. nelkhoury

    And ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the world of Arab politics. Also, my opinions, we the US should not play any role in this. We have our own problems to worry about.

    December 7, 2011 at 11:44 am | Reply
    • ammo

      Well said, listen to the full interview before you judge the situation, do not resent to media manipulation. you media is teating as stupid, and does not respect your mind, but you should do

      December 12, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Reply
      • Leif Erickson

        Just BOMB THE back to the Stone Age ....... oh wait, they already ARE in the Stone Age.

        December 13, 2011 at 5:57 pm |

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