I’ve made mistakes, Assad tells German magazine

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Syria’s President Bashar Assad has conceded making mistakes and says no side in his country’s civil war is entirely free of blame, according to an interview to be published Sunday by German magazine Der Spiegel.

The respected Hamburg-based weekly reported that Assad acknowledged “personal mistakes by individuals,” though the advance version of the interview released Saturday didn’t elaborate on what those mistakes might have been, the Associated Press reported.

“We all make mistakes. Even a president makes mistakes,” Der Spiegel quoted Assad as saying.
The Syrian president reportedly added that there were “gray tones” as far as the question of blame was concerned.
Assad, whose rule prompted protests more than two years ago, said he didn’t believe in a negotiated peace with the rebels trying to oust him.

“According to my definition a political opposition isn’t armed,” he was quoted as saying.

In its announcement about the interview, Der Spiegel did not say when it took place or whether it was face to face.
Assad has declared a willingness to call elections before his term ends in August, however, he stated this week that if he lacks support, he will not run again.

“If I don’t have the will of the people behind me then I won’t run again,” the German magazine quoted him as saying on the subject.

Asked about the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack near Damascus that killed hundreds of people, Assad again denied his government’s involvement.

“The picture you’re painting of me as someone who kills his own people is [false],” the magazine quoted him as saying.

(With the Associated Press)