Bashar al-Assad dares US, France to prove Syria used chemicals

President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday challenged the US and France to provide the "slightest proof", along with the warning that the Middle East "powder keg" would explode if Syria was attacked.

Updated: Sep 03, 2013, 13:04 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Damascus: Reiterating his denial of the Western allegations that the Syrian regime gassed to death its own people on August 21, President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday challenged the US and France to provide the "slightest proof", along with the warning that the Middle East "powder keg" would explode if Syria was attacked.

Speaking in an interview to the French newspaper, Le Figaro, Assad also warned that "everyone will lose control of the situation" if the US waged an aggression against Syria.

Assad`s remarks come on the heels of Barack Obama`s military strike threat after both the United States and France alleged that Syria regime used toxic chemicals against its own people, and were mulling over the possible punitive action.

US Navy`s five destroyers and one amphibious ship have been positioned in Mediterranean near Syrian coasts, and are ready to launch strikes whenever Obama orders.

Obama on Saturday said that the US must take action against Syria but waited to seek a nod from US Congress. France on the other hand, has said it will not act alone and is waiting for the US decision. France will on Wednesday debate the prospects of attack on Syria in Parliament.

Britain`s Parliament has already rejected Cameron`s proposals to take military action in Syria.

The US has categorically accused Assad regime for Aug 21 attack, which Washington says claimed 1429 lives.

US Secretary of State John Kerry appeared on a string of TV interviews, telling that the US had evidence that Sarin gas was used by the Syrian government.

But Assad claimed that the West didn`t have any evidence that Syria government used chemical arms otherwise "they would have already shown it".

"Whoever accuses must provide proof. We have challenged the United States and France to provide the slightest proof. [US President Barack] Obama and [French President Francois] Hollande have been incapable [of doing so] even to their own people," Assad told the French newspaper, Le Figaro.

Russia echoed similar criticism of West saying the proof provide by the US didn`t have anything concrete.

"Yes, some layouts were shown to us, which have nothing concrete, no geographic maps, no names. They did not contain proof that the samples were taken by professionals. There were no comments at all on the fact that many experts had serious doubts about the videos, which are shown in the internet," Lavrov said.

"There are a lot of discrepancies, nonsense. Very much doubt," he added.

Speaking on the attack threats, Assad repeated his warning that any military intervention would exacerbate the chaos in the entire region.

"Chaos and extremism will spread. The risk of a regional war exists."

Comparing the Middle East to a "powder keg", Assad said "the fire is approaching today" and the entire region would explode.

In what reflected Assad`s worries over the possible strike, he said, "Strong is the one who prevents war not the one who ignites it... What benefit will the world achieve from supporting the terrorism in Syria?"