Assad Tells PBS’ Charlie Rose Syria Prepared to Retaliate if Hit
By Hari Sreenivasan
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Charlie Rose on Sunday that he is preparing for a U.S. strike, and that Syria and some of their allies would retaliate if one occurs.
PBS NewsHour Weekend Host Hari Sreenivasan spoke with Rose as he was boarding his flight back to the United States after interviewing Assad in Damascus, Syria, Sunday morning. It is the first interview the Syrian president has given to an American network in nearly two years.
Rose said that Assad denies he had anything to do with the alleged chemical attack on Aug. 21 which the U.S. administration reports killed more than 1400 Syrians.
President Barack Obama has planned a media blitz on Monday when he is expected to discuss his latest attempts to build support for a military strike against Syria. The president has granted interviews to several network news anchors including PBS NewsHour's Gwen Ifill. The president also plans to address the nation Tuesday night to make his case directly to the people on the need for military action in response to what he believes is the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime.
Assad also said that he finds chemical weapons abhorrent and equates them to nuclear arms as weapons of mass destruction, Rose said.
Rose's entire interview with President Assad -- approximately an hour long -- will be aired on PBS at 9 p.m. EDT Monday. Excerpts will be released Monday on CBS This Morning as well as CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley. Rose works for multiple programs on both PBS and CBS.