Syria’s Assad says French strikes would lead to ‘repercussions’

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (C) meets Alaeddin Boroujerdi (L), head of the Iranian parliamentary committee for national security and foreign policy, in Damascus September 1, 2013 in this handout
Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad (C) meets Alaeddin Boroujerdi (L), head of the Iranian parliamentary committee for national security and foreign policy, in Damascus September 1, 2013 in this handout

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad scorned allegations that his forces were behind the chemical attack in Damascus last month and warned that any French military action against his government would lead to “negative repercussions”.

President Francois Hollande, along with U.S. President Barack Obama, has said Assad should be punished for the August 21 attack in which Washington says more than 1,400 people, many of them children, were killed. The Syrian government says it was carried out by rebels – who it often refers to as “terrorists”.

Assad said it would have made no sense to use chemical weapons in an area where his troops were also fighting.

“Those who make accusations must show evidence. We have challenged the United States and France to come up with a single piece of proof. Obama and Hollande have been incapable of doing so,” he said in an interview with French daily Le Figaro.

“Anybody who contributes to the financial and military reinforcement of terrorists is the enemy of the Syrian people. If the policies of the French state are hostile to the Syrian people, the state will be their enemy,” he said. “There will be repercussions, negative ones obviously, on French interests.”

France has backed the Syrian rebels since the start of the two-and-a-half year old conflict. It is worried that spiraling violence could spill into Lebanon, where about 20,000 French nationals live and many French companies operate.

Diplomatic sources say Paris fears Assad’s forces could attack its interests there in retaliation for Western strikes.

“The Middle East is a powder keg and the fire is approaching,” Assad said, according to extracts of the interview published on Monday.

“We shouldn’t just talk about a Syrian response, but what will happen after the first strike. Everybody will lose control of the situation when the powder keg blows.”

Senior members of France’s ruling party rebuffed opposition calls for a parliamentary vote on whether to take military action against Syria, saying on Monday lawmakers should respect the president’s constitutional right to decide on attacks.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.