Assad warns attacking Syria could ignite regional war

President charges that neither US nor France have proof his forces used chemical weapons

Syrian President Bashar Assad during an interview broadcast on Al-Manar Television on Thursday, May 30, 2013. (photo credit: AP/Al-Manar Television)

Syrian President Bashar Assad during an interview broadcast on Al-Manar television on Thursday, May 30, 2013. (photo credit: AP/Al-Manar Television)

SOURCE

Syrian President Bashar Assad on Monday demanded the world produce evidence his forces used chemical weapons, calling the region a “powder keg” and warning an attack against him would ignite a regional war.

“Nobody knows what will happen” if the US or other countries attack Syria,” Assad said in an interview to the French paper Le Figaro. “Everyone will lose control of the situation when the powder keg explodes. Chaos and extremism will spread… There is a risk of regional war.”

 Assad told the paper that Western claims of intelligence proving the regime’s use of chemical weapons in an attack near Damascus last month that killed hundreds were spurious.

“Anyone who accuses [the use of gas] must provide evidence,” the president said, adding he had asked the US and France to prove their claims, but Presidents “[Barack] Obama and [Francois] Hollande were unable to.”

Though Assad avoided confirming his army was in possession of chemical weapons, which the West claim were used to kill some 1,400 people two weeks ago, the president said it would “illogical” for the Syrian army to use such munitions close to its own troops.