DAMASCUS, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said his country will do everything to be strong and will not allow anyone to destroy its armament gears, according to the state- run SANA news agency.
Assad made the remarks during an interview with the German news magazine, Der Spiegel, whose content were carried by SANA on Monday.
According to SANA's version, Assad stressed that "Syria will do everything to be strong and will not allow anyone to destroy its armament gears even though Syria looks to the matters from the prospect that the region is in need for peace and stability and it (Syria) has always been aware about this."
The president, who has made many interviews over the past month with foreign and local media, made the comments at a time the joint team of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations said here that the process of destroying Syria's chemical weapons program began Sunday.
Under the supervision of experts from the OPCW and the UN, Syrian personnel used cutting torches and angle grinders to destroy or disable a range of items, including missile warheads, aerial bombs and mixing and filling equipment, the team said in a statement obtained by Xinhua.
The international inspectors are monitoring, verifying and reporting on Syria's compliance with international demands to destroy chemical weapon stockpiles.
In his latest interview, Assad renewed his government's denial of the accusations that have been directed toward it on the use of chemical weapons in the fight against the rebels.
"We haven't used the chemical weapons... this is wrong...and the image the West is trying to draw is incorrect," he remarked. Regarding the U.S. administration's accusations, Assad said " President Barack Obama didn't present any evidence and he wouldn't present except lies."
"Obama presented lies... and so did (Secretary of State John) Kerry... but Obama couldn't convince his people with his lies and 51 percent of the American people rejected a military strike against Syria."
He further stressed that the Syrian chemical weapons are secured and stored and inactive, adding that his government is dealing with the international inspection mission with transparency "and the experts can go to any facility and will get from us the data that they can verify."