Syrian President Bashar Assad
dismissed allegations that his forces have used chemical weapons in an interview published by a Russian
newspaper on Monday and warned Washington that any US military intervention would fail.
"Failure awaits the United States as in all previous wars it has unleashed, starting with Vietnam and up to the present day," he told the Izvestia daily when asked what would happen if Washington decided to strike or invade Syria.
The United States have said that there is little doubt that Assad's regime was responsible for the attack on Aug. 21 in the capital's eastern suburbs. Anti-government activists and Doctors Without Borders say that more than 300 people were killed in an artillery barrage by regime forces Wednesday that included the use of toxic gas.
Assad told Russia's Izvestia daily that the accusations that his troops were responsible were "politically motivated."
"This is nonsense," Assad was quoted as saying in an interview published Monday. "First they level the accusations, and only then they start collecting evidence."
Assad during the interview (Photo: AFP)
Assad said that attacking such an area with chemical weapons would not make sense for the government as there was no clear frontline between regime and rebel forces.
How can the government use chemical weapons, or any other weapons of mass destruction, in an area where its troops are situated?" he said. "This is not logical. That's why these accusations are politically motivated, and a recent string of victories of the government forces is the reason for it."
Russia has been Assad's most important international ally throughout the civil war, supplying his troops with arms and resisting pressure at the United Nations for tighter sanctions on Damascus.
Asked about the arms deliveries, Assad said: "I want to say that all contracts that have been concluded with Russia are being fulfilled."
Assad with new cabinet (Photo: EPA)
He gave no details and did not say whether Damascus had taken delivery of advanced S-300 sir defense systems from Russia which could vastly enhance its defense capabilities.
Assad claimed Israel
was involved in the Syrian civil and as evidence noted it was treating "dozens of terrorists in its hospitals."
He further claimed that "radical groups" fighting Syria
have not turned their attention to Israel as they were mobilized by the West and are funded by Saudi Arabia.
Syria said Sunday that a UN team could investigate the site but a senior White House official dismissed the deal as "too late to be credible."
With France, Britain, Israel and some US congressmen urging swift military action against Assad's regime if the use of chemical agents is confirmed, the UN team's conclusions could have a dramatic impact on the trajectory of the country's civil war.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said no decision had been made on a military intervention but that any response would be "proportionate."
"It will be negotiated in coming days," Fabius told Europe 1 radio on Monday. He said that the lack of a UN blessing was problematic, but that all options remain on the table.
"The only option that I can't imagine would be to do nothing," Fabius said.
Russia, who has been a staunch ally of Syria, said last week that the accusations against Assad could be a bid to get the Security Council to stand by the opposition, and to undermine efforts to resolve the conflict by convening a peace conference in Geneva.
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