DAMASCUS, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he believed the Western Countries have no evidence about his administration's involvement in a chemical gas attack and has warned of grave consequences of a U.S. "aggression against Syria."
"If the Americans, French or British have evidence about the alleged chemical weapon attack, they would have declared it," the president told the Le Figaro, a French daily newspaper, in a recent interview whose excerpts were carried by the state-run SANA news agency on Monday.
The remarks came amid U.S. threats to carry out a military operation against Syria over an alleged use of chemical weapons against Syrian people in the countryside of Damascus on Aug. 21.
"Whoever accuses the Syrian army of using the chemical weapons should be responsible to show his evidence ... We have challenged them to provide one evidence to substantiate their accusation, but they did not, and will not do ... if they were in possession of an evidence, they would have already shown it," Assad said.
The Syrian leader stressed that stability in the region depends on the situation in Syria, adding that "the strong is the one who prevents war not the one who ignites it."
"If the United States wages an aggression against Syria, everyone will lose control and the result will be the spread of violence, war and extremism because the situation is not only related to Syria, but the entire region," Assad noted.
"What benefit will the world achieve from supporting the terrorism in Syria?" the president questioned.
Regarding U.S. President Barack Obama's recent tactic to seek Congressional approval for a strike on Syria, Assad said whoever wants to vote must ask himself: what good did previous wars bring to America and Europe? What result did the world achieve after the war on Libya and Iraq?
Any congressman must work for the interest of his country ... if they think logically, they would not see any interest to America in authorizing such a war, he continued.
Explaining the situation in the region, Assad said "the Middle East is a powder keg and the fire has become so close to this keg . .. the matter is related not only to the Syrian response (to the possible U.S. war) but to what will happen after the first strike? Whoever puts the plan of war can tell you about the first step only ... but later no one can tell what will happen ... Everybody could lose control and the keg would explode."
France will also face negative repercussions if Paris and its allies launch a military intervention against his country, he warned.
"There will be repercussions, negative ones obviously, on French interests," the Syrian president said in the interview.
"Anybody who contributes to the financial and military reinforcement of terrorists is the enemy of the Syrian people. The French are not our enemy... but if the policies of the French state are hostile to the Syrian people, the state will be their enemy," said Assad.
"Chaos and extremism would ensue and there is a risk of regional war," he warned.
The remarks also came as the White House geared up efforts to win Congressional support for a strike on Syria.
On Monday, President Obama invited Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham to the White House to discuss military intervention in Syria.
On Saturday, Obama announced that he would seek authorization by Congress for military actions to punish the Assad administration for the alleged Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus, the Syrian capital, which reportedly killed at least 1,429 people, including 426 children. The Syrian government has denied the accusation.
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- The samples collected by UN inspectors from the site of the alleged Aug. 21 chemical weapons attacks in Syria were shipped from The Hague, the Netherlands, Monday and will reach their designated laboratories "within hours, " said a UN spokesman.
"The samples were shipped this afternoon from The Hague and will reach their destination within hours," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said in a note emailed to reporters here. "The designated laboratories are prepared to begin the analyses immediately after receipt of samples." Full story
DAMASCUS, Sept.2 (Xinhua) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said if the Western countries have evidence about his administration's involvement in a chemical gas attack, they would have declared it, the state-run SANA news agency reported Monday.
"If the Americans, French or British have evidence about the alleged chemical weapon attack, they would have declared it," the president told the Le Figaro, a French daily newspaper, in a recent interview whose excerpts were carried by SANA. Full story
PARIS, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- French intelligence reports indicated that the chemical attack of Aug. 21 in Damascus was conducted by the Syrian government forces.
The nine-page intelligence report, declassified by the French government on Monday, said since April this year, at least three chemical attacks including the one on Aug. 21 taking place in Syria, were staged by the forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Full story
MOSCOW, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- An initiative to send a delegation ofRussian lawmakers for direct talks with their U.S. colleagues on Syrian problem is timely and correct, President Vladimir Putin said Monday.
"Indeed, in order to better understand each other, there is no other way but a direct and open dialogue with arguments and with the presentation of positions," Putin told the heads of the Parliament's Upper House, or the Federation Council, Valentina Matviyenko and Lower House, or the State Duma, Sergei Naryshkin. Full story
WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday invited Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham to the White House to discuss military intervention in Syria as the administration is bracing for Congressional approval of strikes against Bashar al-Assad's government for punishing it for the alleged Aug. 21 use of chemical weapons on its citizens.
After the meeting with Obama, McCain warned against the peril of not backing up the president on an expressed threat to use force. Full story