Assad rejects chemical weapons allegations, warns US against attack

Assad rejects chemical weapons allegations, warns US against attack | JPost | Israel News.

By REUTERS, JPOST.COM STAFF
08/26/2013 08:38
Syrian president tells Russian paper that claims he used chemical weapons are politically motivated; warns Washington against striking Syria: “Failure awaits the United States as in all previous wars it has unleashed.”

Syria's President Bashar Assad

Syria’s President Bashar Assad Photo: REUTERS

MOSCOW – Syrian President Bashar Assad dismissed Western allegations that he used chemical weapons as politically motivated and warned Washington any US military intervention would fail in an interview published in a Russian newspaper on Monday.

“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.

Assad said Syrian government forces had been close to where rebel forces say chemical weapons were used last week during the country’s more than two-year-old civil war.

“Would any state use chemical or any other weapons of mass destruction in a place where its own forces are concentrated? That would go against elementary logic,” Assad told Izvestia, a pro-Kremlin newspaper.

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.”

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.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Monday that it is very concerned that Washington may respond militarily to the suspected chemical weapons attack by Syria’s government.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged restraint when talking to his US counterpart, John Kerry, the ministry said on Monday.

“The minister (Lavrov) stressed that the official announcements from Washington in recent days about the readiness of US armed forces to ‘intervene’ in the Syrian conflict have been received in Moscow with deep concern,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, referring to a conversation on Sunday.

The Times of London reported Monday that British Prime Minister David Cameron has allegedly been pressuring US President Barack Obama to launch a prompt military strike on Syria in response to the supposed chemical weapons attack.

British government sources said talks between Western leaders were ongoing and that any agreed upon military action could be exercised in the coming week.

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