Assad: Expect everything if Syria is attacked

Bashar al-Assad warns his government will retaliate against the US if it goes ahead with a military strike on Syria.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has threatened possible reprisal attacks if the US attacks Syria, saying that if there are military strikes, Americans can “expect every action”.

Assad’s comments came as part of a television interview with Charlie Rose of the CBS broadcasting network, in which he also denied involvement in an alleged August 21 attack involving chemical weapons.

He said that if there were US attacks on Syria, in response, the US “should expect everything” and that it will “pay the price” for its actions.

Video of Assad making the comments in the Syrian capital Damascus was aired for the first time on Monday.

Assad also said an attack by international forces may prompt retaliation from Syria’s allies.

He denied that he was behind the chemical weapons attack on the Syrian people and said evidence was not conclusive that there had been such an attack.

“There has been no evidence that I used chemical weapons against my own people,” CBS on Sunday quoted Assad as saying.

The broadcaster reported Assad said his forces were not in the area of the chemical weapons attack on August 21, saying ‘our soldiers in another area were attacked chemically. … But in the area where they said the government used chemical weapons, we only had video and we only have pictures and video. We’re not there.”

Asked by CBS if chemical warfare could be one repercussion from an American intervention in Syria he said: “That depends if the rebels or the terrorists in this region or any other group have it. It could happen.”

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, dismissed any claim by the Syrian president that there was no evidence he used chemical weapons against his own people, saying on Sunday that “the evidence speaks for itself”.

Kerry made the remark in response to a question as he began a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks on July 29, according to a US reporter who attended a photo session on behalf of other journalists travelling with him.

The US, along with other Western and regional countries, accuses the Assad regime of carrying out a chemical attack in a Damascus suburb on August 21, killing hundreds of people.

Speaking on the CBS Sunday morning show Face the Nation, Rose summarised the answers Assad gave in his first interview with an American television network in the last two years.

Rose said Assad did not confirm or deny that his regime has chemical weapons.

The US and France are seeking to build an international coalition to launch military strikes against Syria in response to the alleged chemical attack.

Member countries of the EU also blame the Syrian government for the attack, but said on Saturday that there should not be any military response before a report from UN weapons inspectors is published.

Source: News Agencies