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Assad answers West: Strike may lead to regional war

Syrian president claims in La Figaro interview that US, France have failed to prove chemical weapons attack. He warns against strike's outcome: Mideast is powder keg; chaos, extremism will spread

Syrian President Bashar Assad gave an exclusive interview to the French La Figaro newspaper and warned against "a regional war" in case of a Western strike in his country.


"Anyone who accuses must provide evidence," Assad said, referring to the allegation of chemical weapons use leveled against his regime, and called on the US and France "to advance a single proof."

According to him, US President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande have failed to do so.


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Assad was asked by La Figaro's Damascus correspondent George Malbrunot how he will respond to a Western strike. "the Middle East is a powder keg, and the fire is approaching today," the Syrian president answered.


"We must not only talk about the Syrian response (to an American strike), but what might happen after the first strike.


"But nobody knows what will happen. Everyone will lose control of the situation when the powder keg explodes. Chaos and extremism will spread. There's a risk of a regional war."


Assad warned the French government that its participation in an attack will lead to "negative repercussions" to France's interests.


"Anyone who contributes to strengthening terrorists is an enemy of the Syrian people. Insofar as the policy of the French government is hostile to the Syrian people, the French state will be the enemy of the Syrian people," Assad said.


The interview was released in France on the same day of the exposure of the French intelligence report which contains evidence of Syrian use of chemical weapons against civilians.


The report claims Assad holds about 1,000 tons of chemical arms and determines: "Assad's henchmen fired weapons containing sarin gas in a rebel controlled suburb to cause terror."


The French report, dubbed a "smoking gun" which justifies an attack in Syira, is one of the reasons Hollande is determined to join the operation alongside the US.


The French president, who proclaimed that "those who decided to attack innocents with chemical weapons must be punished," hopes the report will give his government the public' backing for action in Syria.



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פרסום ראשון: 09.02.13, 20:37
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