Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad will defend himself against accusations of chemical weapons usage Monday evening, with an exclusive interview set to air on PBS’ “The Charlie Rose Show,” reports Politico.
The interview will partially air Monday on “CBS This Morning,” and will be broadcast on PBS in its entirety on the same day President Obama grants interviews with six networks, and just one day before addressing the nation in a speech pushing for a military strike against Syria.
The interview took place at the presidential palace in Damascus.
Rose gave a preview of the content on CBS’s “Face The Nation” Sunday, telling Bob Schieffer that Assad “denied that he had anything to do with the attack” and “he denied that he knew in fact, that there was a chemical attack.”
“He said there was not evidence yet to make a conclusive judgement,” Rose added.
The White House discounted Assad’s denial to Rose that he used chemical weapons. While the Obama administration has not presented evidence showing that Assad directly ordered the strike, the White House maintains that only the Assad regime had the wherewithal to conduct such an operation and that ultimately Assad is responsible.
“It doesn’t surprise us that someone who would kill thousands of his own people, including hundreds of children with poison gas, would also lie about it,” said National Security Council spokesman Bernadette Meehan.
When asked about Syria’s chemical-weapons stockpiles, Assad told Rose that he would not “confirm or deny that we do have them” but if in fact they did, “they are in centralized control and no one else has access to them.”
He will also talk about his preparations and fears of a U.S. military strike, as well as talking about his father.
Charlie Rose previously interviewed Assad on May 27, 2010, less than a year before the conflict began in Syria.
Talks of U.S.-led intervention into the more than 2-year-old civil war have heightened after an alleged chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21 in a Damascus suburb. The Obama administration has said more than 1,400 people died, many of them children.
Here’s a preview:
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