Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Spain struggles to tackle violence against women

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

How drones are transforming the battleground in Syria

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: The Netflix debate, 'Faces Places' and 'Marnie'

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Over 8,000 migrants rescued from Mediterranean in 48 hours

Read more

THE DEBATE

Farewell to arms? Crucial step for Colombia peace process

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Angela Merkel softens resistance to gay marriage

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Medically assisted procreation for everyone?'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Tracking the ransom payments amid latest global cyberattack

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

EU fines Google €2.4bn over shopping service

Read more

Middle east

Assad warns of ‘regional war’ in French interview

© Photo: AFP

Text by Tony Todd

Latest update : 2013-09-03

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told a French newspaper Monday that military intervention from France and the United States could set off a “powder keg” and “regional war”, while denying his forces had used chemical weapons.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told French daily Le Figaro Monday that the use of nerve gas against targets in rebel-held parts of Syria would have been “illogical”, while warning that an attack on his country could set off a “regional war”.

In excerpts of an interview to be published in full in Tuesday’s edition of the newspaper, Assad challenged French President François Hollande and US President Barack Obama to provide convincing proof that he had used weapons of mass destruction against his own people.

"Those who make accusations must show evidence,” he told Le Figaro. “We challenge the United States and France to do this. Obama and Hollande have been incapable of doing this, including for their own people.”

Assad, who has been waging a two-and-a-half-year civil war against a rebel coalition that has claimed more than 100,000 lives, said he would neither deny nor admit that his country possessed such weapons -- but insisted it would have been tactically illogical for his forces to use them against the alleged targets.

Military intervention against his country, he added, would “set off a powder keg” that “everyone would lose control of once ignited”.

“Chaos and extremism would ensue,” he said. “There is a risk of regional war.”

France, he warned, would become the enemy of the Syrian state: “Whoever contributes financial or military support to the terrorists is an enemy of the Syrian people," he said, adding: “If the French state shows itself to be hostile to the Syrian people, that state becomes its enemy."

Assad also warned of consequences for France if it chooses this path. “This hostility will only end when the French state changes its policies," he said. "There will certainly be negative repercussions for French interests.”

 

 

Date created : 2013-09-02

  • US - SYRIA

    France to present Syria nerve gas ‘evidence’

    Read more

  • FRANCE - SYRIA

    Hollande feels political heat as Obama seeks Syria vote

    Read more

  • SYRIA - FRANCE

    Syrians in Paris unconvinced as West mulls strikes

    Read more

COMMENT(S)