'Assad's story is not believable'
7 December 2011 Last updated at 23:09 GMT
During the past nine months the people of Syria have taken to the streets in protest against their government and over 4,000 have paid with their lives.
Yet on Wednesday, in a rare television interview with ABC's Barbara Walters, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad flatly denied that he ordered the use of brutality, instead blaming the violence on others.
To discuss that interview, the BBC's Jane O'Brien was joined by Bilal Saab, fellow at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.