We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Remy de la Mauviniere/PA

Assad says defending Syria is more important than UN action against him

The Syrian president also accused the UN of being biased because of American, French and British influence.

SYRIAN PRESIDENT BASHAR al-Assad has said that “defending” his country in a time of war was more important than any international tribunal that may be brought against his government later.

His comments to Belgian media came as rights watchdog Amnesty International accused the regime of hanging 13,000 at an infamous prison near Damascus.

According to an English-language transcript of the interviews published by Syrian state news agency SANA, Assad accused UN institutions of acting unfairly towards his country.

“We all know that the United Nations institutions are not unbiased, they are biased because of the American influence and the French and British, mainly,” he said.

“They are only politicised to implement the agenda of those countries,” he added.

Syria’s conflict first broke out in March 2011 with widespread protests that descended into violence.

‘We don’t care’

Asked whether he was concerned about a potential court case brought against the regime at the UN’s highest court in The Hague, Assad said he and other Syrian officials “don’t care”.

“For me, as president, when I do my duty, the same for the government and for the army, to defend our country, we don’t look to this issue, we don’t care about it,” he said.

“We have to defend our country by every mean[s], and when we have to defend it by every mean[s], we don’t care about this court, or any other international institution,” Assad added.

The UN General Assembly in December agreed to begin gathering evidence on war crimes in Syria as a first step towards prosecuting those responsible for atrocities there.

At the time, Syria’s Ambassador Bashar Jafaari slammed the measure, calling it a “flagrant interference in the internal affairs of a UN member-state.”

But in a new report published today, Amnesty International said Syria’s government had carried out a deliberate “policy of extermination” at the Saydanaya military prison.

The report found that as many as 13,000 people were killed in mass hangings at the facility between 2011 and 2015.

- © AFP 2017.

Read: This is the before and after picture of a man who survived Syria’s ‘human slaughterhouse’>

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.