Syria’s increasingly embattled leader Bashar Assad has given an interview to American journalist Barbara Walters, a slightly left-field choice that has surprised many. Assad is under international pressure to step down as reports pile up criticising his government’s approach to widespread demonstrations in the country this year.
It remains to be seen how Assad will respond to Walters’ questions, and whether those questions will be particularly hard-hitting. It’s also not entirely clear why Assad would agree to the interview, since he appears to have little to gain. Nevertheless, he appears to be on a charm offensive, atempting to set straight what he apparently sees as an incorrect global perspective regarding his country.
This is not the first time that ABC News has interviewed a leading figure in the Arab world this year. Both Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi were interviewed by the network before they ultimately fell from power. Will Assad be able to beat that inauspicious trend?