(CNN) - Syria's embattled President Bashar al-Assad disputed claims he is responsible for the violence engulfing his country and distanced himself from the behavior of his armed forces.
"They are not my forces," al-Assad contended in an interview with ABC's Barbara Walters, aired on Wednesday and posted on the network's website. He had been asked if he thought his forces cracked down too hard on protesters over the past nine months.
"They are forces for the government. I don't own them. I'm president. I don't own the country. So they are not my forces."
Wouldn't al-Assad, the commander in chief, have had to give the order for any military actions? "No, no no," he said.
Not by your command? "No," he said, "on no one's command. There was no command to kill or to be brutal."
Filed under: Syria
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