Syria's Allies Will Retaliate in Response to US Strike
Clearing House - "Reuters"
- Syrian President Bashar Assad warned that if there was a
military strike by the United States on his country, there would
be retaliation by those aligned with Syria.
CBS reported Assad's remarks that he made in an interview with
Charlie Rose on Sunday on its news program "Face the Nation."
Syria was as prepared as it could be for an attack, Assad said.
Assad denied that he was behind a chemical weapons attack on the
Syrian people and said evidence was not conclusive that there
had been such an attack.
"There has been no evidence that I used chemical weapons against
my own people," CBS reported Assad said in an interview
conducted in Damascus.
Meanwhile, Iran's new foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said
the United States will ignite a fire across the Middle East if
it attacks Syria. Zarif made the remarks on a visit to Iraq on
Sunday, warning Western powers against warmongering.
After more than two years of civil war, US President Barack
Obama is trying to drum up support for limited strikes on Syria
in response to a chemical weapons attack that Washington blames
on Assad's government.
The Shi'ite-led government in Baghdad has sought to maintain a
neutral stance towards the conflict and opposes any Western
military intervention in Syria, fearing it will further
"We are concerned about warmongering in this region," said Zarif
at a news conference during his first official trip abroad since
taking office. "Those who are short-sighted and are beating the
drums of war are starting a fire that will burn everyone."
Zarif was received by his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari and
was also expected to meet Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki later
in the day.
The Syrian conflict has widened a fault line between Islam's two
main denominations, pitting mainly Sunni rebels, their Gulf Arab
sponsors and some Western powers against Assad, whose Alawite
sect derives from Shi'ism.
Iraq's own sectarian balance has come under acute strain from
the civil war next door, which has given new momentum to Sunni
Islamist insurgents who have been striking with a frequency and
on a scale not seen in years.
Sunni and Shi'ite militants from Iraq have also crossed into
Syria to fight on opposite sides of the conflict, complicating
the government's official position of neutrality.
"Interference (in Syria) will affect the neighboring countries
maybe directly, including Iraq, which will be affected in terms
of security and humanitarian issues," Zebari said at the news
Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported the United States
had intercepted a directive from a senior Iranian official
instructing Shi'ite militants in Iraq to attack US interests in
Baghdad in the event of a strike.
Alireza Miryousefi, the spokesman for Iran's UN mission in New
York, on Saturday denied the allegations and dismissed them as
"One should remember that reliance on such intelligence reports
from anonymous US officials will lead to another disaster
similar to the Iraq tragedy," Miryousefi was quoted as saying by
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