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June 4, 2012 8:15 am

Assad Blames Terrorists for Massacre in Defiant Speech

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Billboard with portrait of Assad and the text "Allah protects Syria" in Damascus. Photo: wiki commons.

TIME – Syrian President Bashar Assad defended his government’s crackdown on opponents Sunday, saying a doctor performing messy emergency surgery does not have blood on his hands if he is trying to save a patient.

In his first speech since January, Assad appeared unmoved by scathing international criticism of his ferocious response to the 15-month-old revolt against his rule, which has killed up to 13,000 people, according to activist groups. He also denied responsibility for last week’s Houla massacre of more than 100 people, saying not even “monsters” would carry out such an ugly crime.

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