Assad: U.S. attack on Syria will bring 'repercussions'

10:18 AM, Sep 9, 2013   |    comments
Syrian President Bashar Assad (AP)
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(USA Today) -- Syrian President Bashar Assad has denied in an interview that his country had used chemical weapons against his own people and warned of "repercussions" for any U.S. strike against his country.

"You should expect everything," Assad told CBS' Charlie Rose on CBS This Morning. "You should expect everything. Not necessarily from the government. It's not only the government are not the only player in this region. You have different parties, you have different factions, you have different ideology. You have everything in this region now. So you have to expect that."

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He also warned that terrorist groups who support his regime might also respond to any U.S. strike with attacks on their own:

ROSE: Are you suggesting that if in fact there's a strike, there would be repercussions against the United States from your friends in other countries like Iran or Hezbollah or others?

ASSAD: Yeah. As I said, it's-- it may take different forms, direct and indirect. Direct when people wants to retaliate s-- or governments. Indirect when we're going to have instability and the spread of terrorism all over the region that will influence the West directly.

The Obama administration has accused the Assad regime of an attack with chemical weapons near Damascus Aug. 21 that killed more than 1,400 people. President Obama has called on Congress to back a limited strike against Syria.

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"There has been no evidence that I used chemical weapons against my own people," he said in the interview, which will be broadcast in full by PBS.

"We-- we're not in the area where... the alleged chemical attack was happened, as is alleged. We're not sure that anything happened," Assad said.

President Obama plans a prime-time address to the nation on the Syrian Crisis. 11Alive and will carry live coverage of the president's address on television and online Tuesday night at 9.

He charged that the Obama administration had only made charges and had not produced any proof of Syrian complicity in the use of chemical weapons

"Our soldiers in another area were attacked chemically, our soldiers," the Syrian president told CBS. "They went to the hospital, as casualties because of chemical weapons. But in the area where they said the government used chemical weapons, we only had video and we only have pictures and allegations. We're not there. Our forces -- our police, our institutions don't exist. How can you talk about what happened if you don't have evidences? We're not like the American administration. We're not social media administration or government. We are the government that deals with reality."

He called on Obama to "present what you have as evidence to the public, be transparent."

Assad accused the White House of spreading false information about the attack and recalled the presentation by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell to the United Nations about Iraq's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction.

We have the "precedent" of Powell's evidence 10 years ago, which Assad called a "big lie." "It was false and forged," he said.

The Syrian leader would neither confirm nor deny that his government kept chemical weapons, but said that if they existed, they were "in centralized control".

In Paris, meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry brushed aside Assad's denials.

"We know that his regime gave orders to prepare for a chemical attack. We know they deployed forces," Kerry said at a news conference Monday in London with British Foreign Secretary William Hague..

"What does he offer?" Kerry asked of Assad. "Words that are contradicted by fact."

Kerry said that control of Syria's chemical weapons was restricted to the president, his brother and an unnamed general.

The secretary also said that Assad would be able to prevent a military strike on his nation if he were to hand over "every single bit" of his chemical weapons to the international community within a week.

(USA Today)

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