• France edition
 
Syria crisis
Syria's Assad warns France of 'repercussions'
A French fighter jet. Photo: Alexander Klein/AFP

Syria's Assad warns France of 'repercussions'

Published: 02 Sep 2013 19:21 GMT+02:00
Updated: 02 Sep 2013 19:21 GMT+02:00

Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad warned Monday that Western military strikes would risk igniting a "regional war" in the "powder keg" of the Middle East, in an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro

He also said France would face "repercussions" if it took part in US-led plans for military action in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack by Assad's regime last month.

“Anyone who contributes to strengthening terrorists whether financially or militarily is an enemy of the Syrian people. Anyone who works against the interests of Syria and its citizens is an enemy," Assad told Le Figaro.

“The French people are not our enemy, but the policy of the government is hostile towards the Syrian people, so therefore the French state is an enemy of the of the Syrian people."

“This hostility will only end when the French government changes its policy. There will be repercussions, negative of course, against French interests."

Assad also told Le Figaro that the Middle East could go up in smoke once the first strikes are carried out and that "extremism and chaos" would spread throughout the region.

OPINION: Hollande 'is playing a high risk game over Syria'

“The Middle East is a powder keg and the fuse is getting shorter," he said.

"We should not just talk about Syria’s response but what might happen after the first strike. Nobody knows.

"Everyone will lose control of the situation when the powder keg explodes. Chaos and extremism will spread. There is a risk of regional war," said Assad who also castigated the US and France for not being able to provide proof that his regime was responsible for the chemical attack.

However at the same time Assad's words of warning were made public, so to were documents that claimed to prove that it was indeed his forces who were responsible for the chemical attack.

On Monday evening France's Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault made public previously secret documents that showed the August 21 chemical weapons attack on a Damascus suburb was carried out by President Bashar al-Assad's regime and killed at least 281 people.

A source said the toll figured in a document given by Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault to lawmakers during a meeting on the Syrian crisis, adding that the attack was "massive."

The figure was markedly lower than that provided by Washington, which spoke of at least 1,400 deaths. The United States is trying to cobble together a coalition to launch strikes on Syria.

The French intelligence report has concluded that rockets used in a deadly August 21 chemical weapons attack were fired from regime-controlled areas, a government source said on Monday.

The report also concluded that there had been "massive use of chemical agents" in the attack, which was "at a level of sophistication that can only belong to the regime."Assad's government has denied

responsibility, blaming it on opposition fighters who it says are armed by the West.

Ayrault met lawmakers to provide what it said was clear evidence that the Damascus regime was behind the attack.

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Imperiled Iraqi Christians offered asylum in France
France has offered asylum to Iraqi Christians displaced by islamist militants. Photo: Karim Sahib/AFP

Imperiled Iraqi Christians offered asylum in France

France has offered asylum to thousands of Christians in Iraq displaced by threats and violence from the jihadists who have invaded portions of the country. The islamists have given Christians the ultimatum of convert or leave. READ  

Two Irish montaineers killed on Mont Blanc
Two climbers incuding one Irishman were killed in a fall on Mont Blanc on Sunday. Photo: Philippe Merle/AFP

Two Irish montaineers killed on Mont Blanc

Two Irishmen were killed in after slipping and falling in the Mont Blanc range on Sunday. It comes after an American businessman outraged French authorities for trying to scale the mountain with his young children. READ  

Tourists picnic with rats in Louvre gardens
Another Parisian rat. Photo: Jean-Jacques Boujot.

Tourists picnic with rats in Louvre gardens

VIDEO: The lawns of the Louvre, a favourite picnic haunt of tourists and Parisians, are offering visitors a real-life Ratatouille experience after being invaded by rodents. READ  

France's Muslims mark the end of 'holiest month'
France's Muslims will mark the end of holiest month on Monday. Photo: Boris Horvat/AFP

France's Muslims mark the end of 'holiest month'

France’s Muslim population, which is the largest in Europe, will end on Monday its holiest festival of the year: Ramadan. However, the date is not without controversy due to the unique way the annual rite’s duration is chosen. READ  

Lion wounds 16-month-old child at French circus
A lion injured a child at a French circus. Photo: Alexandre Imamura/Flickr

Lion wounds 16-month-old child at French circus

A lion reached out of its cage and scratched a 16-month-old girl at a circus in France on Sunday, sending the child to the hospital with injuries to her head and back. She was luckier than a previous victim of a circus animal attack in France. READ  

Marseille: Pro-Israel march held amid tension
Thousands march in support of Israel in Marseille. Photo: Boris Horvat/AFP

Marseille: Pro-Israel march held amid tension

Up to 6,000 demonstrators marched through the French city of Marseille on Sunday in support of Israel. The rally was held amid tight security as dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters tried to disrupt the demonstration. READ  

French nationals told to flee chaos in Libya
Libyan security services and civilians gather across the street after a car bomb attack on the French embassy in Tripoli, Libya on April 23rd, 2013. Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AF

French nationals told to flee chaos in Libya

France has warned its nationals to leave Libya due to the worsening security situation there and the threat of terror attacks. French warnings come amid similar calls for evacuation from other European nations and the United States. READ  

Air Algérie crash: France mourns, seeks anwsers
This photo shows debris of the Air Algerie Flight AH 5017 scattered at the crash site in Mali's Gossi region, west of Gao, on July 26, 2014. Photo: AFP

Air Algérie crash: France mourns, seeks anwsers

France was mourning on Monday as investigators continued their hunt for clues that could explain the cause of the Air Algérie crash that killed all 118 people on board. The two black boxes from the aircraft were flown to France on Sunday. READ  

Italian Nibali wins 2014 Tour de France
Italy's Vincenzo Nibali (R) wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey toasts champagne with Astana teammates. Photo: Jean-Paul Pelissier/AFP

Italian Nibali wins 2014 Tour de France

Italian Vincenzo Nibali won the 2014 Tour de France on Sunday after the final stage that ended on the famous Champs-Elysees avenue. Frenchmen Jean-Christophe Peraud and Thibaut Pinot finished second and third. READ  

Truck driver in family death had used cocaine

Truck driver in family death had used cocaine

The driver of a truck that crossed to the wrong side of a French highway and crushed to death a family of five travelling in the opposite direction tested positive for cocaine use, the investigating prosecutor said Saturday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Why you should think twice about feeding stray cats in France
National
And the new redrawn map of France will look like...?
Politics
Is French President François Hollande about to tie the knot?
International
Want a long-term visa? You may soon have to take a French test
International
Votes for foreigners: 'France would be giving up its sovereignty'
National
VIDEO: Stuntman jumps onto a moving Paris metro... and survives
Gallery
Forget 'faire l'amour', here's 15 top French expressions for making love
National
Report - 'Anti-Semitic' riots in France: 'We may leave for Israel'
National
Paris Plages: Here's 10 reasons to head down to the city beach
International
'Mont Blanc is like Disneyland. It's time to end the free-for-all'
Travel
Fancy climbing Mont Blanc? Here's 10 reasons to think twice about it
Gallery
Looking for a weird museum in Paris? Here's 10 that are worth a visit
National
Clear your head: Eight tips for buying wine in a French supermarket
National
'Don't blame the labour market for France's unemployment woes!'
National
Job applicants in France: Be prepared to send in an anonymous CV
Sport
'Bouligans' to booze bans: Ten things you need to know about pétanque
Gallery
Driving in France: How to stay out of trouble on the roads
Travel
Ten essential free phone apps for a visit to Paris
Gallery
Like cycling? Love France? See the top ten best cycling routes in France
International
'They think beer is a vegetable': What the French really think of Germans
National
Sarkozy's dream of a 2017 comeback is not dead yet
Gallery
Ten reasons why France is better than Germany (we're not talking football)
Gallery
Paris in Summer: Ten things to do on a shoestring
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se