Syria’s Assad Warns That The Middle East Is A ‘Powder Keg’
KIM WILLSHER, THE GUARDIAN
SEP. 2, 2013
Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, has challenged the west to come up with “a single piece” of evidence that he has used chemical weapons.
He warned that any military intervention in Syria could spark a “regional war”.
“The Middle East is a powder keg, and today the fuse is getting shorter,” he said in an exclusive interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro.
As the French government published declassified documents purporting to show the Assad regime has used chemical weapons against its own people, the Syrian president vehemently denied the accusations.
“Whoever is doing the accusing must come up with proof. We have challenged the United States and France to provide a single piece of proof. Messrs Obama and Holland haven’t been able to do so, even to their own people,” Assad said.
He said there was no logic to claims his forces used lethal sarin nerve gas in an attack on the outskirts of Damascus on 21 August.
“Supposing our army wanted to use weapons of massive destruction; would it do so in a zone where it is located and where soldiers have been injured by these weapons, as the United Nations inspectors noted when they visited the hospital where they were being treated. Where is the logic?” Assad said.
Asked what would happen if outside forces carried out military strikes against his regime, Assad replied: “One must not speak only about the Syrian response, but rather what could happen after the first strike.