Monday, September 9, 2013

Bashar al-Assad warns America to \'expect everything\' in retaliation for military

The United States should expect \"everything\" if it carries out air-strikes against Syria, Bashar al-Assad warned on Monday, as he delivered a thinly veiled threat to the US Congress to think very carefully before authorizing military action.

\"You\'re going to pay the price if you\'re not wise. There are going to be repercussions,\" Assad told CBS television\'s \"This Morning.\" \"It\'s an area where everything is on the brink of explosion. You have to expect everything.\" Photo: CBS/AFP/GETTY

By Peter Foster in Washington 9:22PM BST 09 Sep 2013

\"You should expect everything,\" the Syrian president said his first interview with a US television network since Barack Obama announced his decision to take punitive military action against the Assad regime for using chemical weapons.

Asked if he was making a threat of a direct military response to any such attack, Mr Assad, was vague but menacing. \"I am not fortune teller to tell you what\'s going to happen,\" he said, speaking to CBS News in English from his presidential palace in Damascus.

Pressed on whether reprisals could include chemical weapons, Mr Assad responded with another implicit threat, sticking to his contention – denied by the US – that it was Syria rebels that fired chemical weapons.

\"That depends if the rebels or the terrorists in this region or any other group have it. It could happen,\" he said, \"I don\'t know. Nobody expected the 11th of September,\" he said, warning of the unintended consequences of strikes in a region where al-Qaeda is gaining ground .

\"The government\'s not the only player in this region,\" he warned, \"You have different parties, different factions, different ideologies. You have everything in this decision now.\" Mr Assad continues to contest US intelligence assessments that his forces were responsible for the August 12 chemical weapon attack that the US estimates killed more than 1,400 people, reminding American viewers of the \"big lie\" told by Colin Powell to the UN about Iraq\'s weapons of mass destruction in 2003.
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