Syrian President Bashar Assad warned Monday that the U.S. should “expect every action” in retaliation if the White House follows through with a proposed strike against his regime.
“You should expect everything,” Assad said. “You should expect everything. Not necessarily from the government. It's not only the government are not the only player in this region. You have different parties, you have different factions, you have different ideology. You have everything in this region now. So you have to expect that.”
Assad repeatedly referenced the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, arguing that, like that day almost 12 years ago, the U.S. couldn’t possibly know how various factions in the region might respond to a U.S. strike on Syria.
“You are going to pay the price if you are not wise with dealing with terrorists,” Assad said. “So nobody expect ... we said there were going to be repercussions of the mistaken way of dealing with it ... of treating the terrorism. But nobody expected the 11th of September. So you could not expect ... It's difficult for anyone to tell you what is going to happen. It's area where everything is on the brink of explosion. You have to expect everything.”
The Syrian president was adamant that he didn’t use chemical weapons. He said that Secretary of State John Kerry had produced no evidence to indicate that he had and insisted that the rebels had, in fact, used chemical weapons against his army.
“We, we're not in the area where the ally, where the, where the alleged chemical attack was happened, as it alleged,” Assad said.
“We're not sure that anything happened. … Our soldiers in another area were attacked chemically. Our soldiers. They went to the hospital as casualties because of chemical weapons. But in the area where they said the government used chemical weapons, we only had video, and we only have pictures and allegations. We're not there. Our forces, our police, our institutions don't exist.”
Assad likened the evidence against him to the evidence presented to Congress in the run-up to the Iraq war. He singled out former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s testimony to the United Nations that helped sell the Bush administration’s case to the international community. Assad said the evidence in the case against Iraq “was false, and it was forged.”
“That reminds me about what Kerry said — about the big lie that Colin Powell said in front of the world on satellites about the WMD in Iraq before going to war, when he said, ‘This is our evidence,’” Assad said. “Actually, he give false evidence. In this case, Kerry didn't even present any evidence. He talk, ‘We have evidence,’ and he didn't present anything, not yet. Nothing so far. Not a single shred of evidence.”
Assad said his allies in Russia have “completely opposite evidence” to what the U.S. has produced.