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Assad: I don't rule out a US attack

Syrian president Bashar Assad says he does not discount the possibility of a US military attack on his country even though threatened action was forestalled when he agreed to give up his government's chemical weapons.

Assad also said in an interview broadcast by Venezuela's state-run Telesur network that his government had confessions from rebels that they brought chemical weapons into the civil war-torn nation and that authorities had uncovered chemical arms caches and labs. He said evidence had been turned over to Russia.

He blamed rebels for the deadly August 21 gas attack that brought threats of action from America.

Assad also predicted that "terrorists" would attack any United Nations inspectors who entered Syria to secure and dismantle the government's chemical arsenal.


According to the broadcast's Spanish dubbing, Assad said all evidence pointed to rebel responsibility for the attack.

He said Syrian authorities had uncovered chemical arms caches and labs and that the evidence had been turned over to Russia, which brokered the deal that helped persuade US president Barack Obama to pull back from threatened military action over the gas attack in a Damascus suburb.

In a speech at the United Nations on Tuesday, Mr Obama said he would not use military force to depose Assad. But Washington and Moscow remain at odds on how to hold Syria accountable if it does not live up to its pledge to dismantle its chemical weapons stockpile.

While Assad said he had evidence that countries including Saudi Arabia were arming Syrian rebels, during the 40-minute interview he said he had no proof that any particular country had supplied them with chemical weapons.

He was also asked about the apparent thaw in relations between the US and Iran, his government's chief patron in the region.

Assad called the development positive but added that he did not consider it to mean that Tehran's leaders trusted Washington. He said it was important that the US stop pressuring Iran not to have nuclear technology.

He also accused the Obama administration of lying to US citizens by claiming it had proof that Assad's government was responsible for the August 21 attack.

More than 100,000 people have been killed in Syria's two and a half-year-old civil war.



From Belfast Telegraph