Syria's Assad tells Fox News: 'We didn't bow to US threats'

The Obama administration has come under fire from conservatives over calling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a "reformer" during initial relations with him.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad insisted Wednesday that his decision to destroy his stockpiles of chemical weapons was not forced upon him by the threat of US strikes.

"Yeah, there's a misunderstanding that we agreed with this agreement because of the Americans," he told US network Fox News.

"Actually, if you go back before the G20, before the proposal, the Russians, it wasn't about handing over the chemical arsenal," he said, referring to a Russian offer to oversee his disarmament.

"It was about attacking Syria in order not to use the arsenal again," he said, in reference to US President Barack Obama's call for a punitive strike against his regime.

"So it's not about the threat. Syria never obey(s) any threat. We actually responded to the Russian initiative and to our needs and to our conviction," he insisted.

"So whether they have Chapter 7 or don't have Chapter 7, this is politics between the great countries," he said, referring to a UN rule that would have to be invoked to justify international action.

Syria's ally Russia has opposed any UN Security Council resolution that would permit a Chapter 7 enforcement action in order to compel Damascus to hand over its chemical arms.

He also suggested the Syria isn't embroiled in a civil war, but is under attack.

He said tens of thousands of foreign jihadist fighters allied to Al-Qaeda are laying siege to Syria.

In the same interview with Fox News, Assad urged Obama not to threaten Syria with armed intervention, but to "listen to the common sense of your people."

Fox said it secured the interview, with no restrictions on questioning, with the help of former congressman Dennis Kucinich. Fox News correspondent Greg Palkot conducted the interview with Kucinich alongside.

Assad earlier this month spoke with talkshow host Charlie Rose.