• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Syria's Assad warns France of 'repercussions'

AFP/The Local · 2 Sep 2013, 19:21

Published: 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.

Story continues below…

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)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Four shot in high-speed car chase in France
All four people in the suspect car were injured in the crash, two of them seriously. Photo: Alexis Constant/La Voix du Nord/ AFP

UPDATE: Car was carrying four suspected human traffickers.

This is how Paris plans to stop the 'wild peeing' plague
The use of public toilets in Paris has climbed 41 percent since 2011. Photo: AFP

Paris may one of the world's most elegant cities, but sometimes it stinks. Quite literally.

Afghan film star in French exile after death threats
Afghan actress Marina Golbahari and her husband Noor in Paris. Photo: AFP

The feted star of an internationally-acclaimed film, Afghan actress Marina Golbahari, and her husband have been chased from their home to the brink of suicide in a filthy French asylum shelter after she was photographed without a veil.

'Love lock' tour companies spark anger in Paris
Photo: AFP

Companies are making money from "love lock tours" on Paris's historic bridges and the public are angry.

Why does 'everyone in France hate the police'?
Photos: AFP

"Everyone hates the police" is the new chant of protesters in France, but why?

Nine Paris parks to stay open 24 hours a day
Photo: AFP

The new longer opening hours start this weekend.

French set to enjoy long Ascension weekend in the sun
Photo: Météo France

Although the fine weather set to come to an abrupt end with a few bangs and flashes of lightning on Sunday.

How to make the most of France's 2016 holidays
Photo: Miguel Discart/Flickr

Bad luck, holiday lovers. Out of eleven national public holidays in France this year, three fall on a Sunday. Here's a closer look.

Violence as police clear migrants out of Paris school
Migrants' supporters face anti-riot policemen to protest against the Jean-Jaurès highschool evacuation in Paris. All photos: AFP

Migrant evictions in Paris today sparked clashes between protesters and police.

Soon you can be free of annoying cold calls in France
Photo: CAFNR/Flickr

Sick of getting cold calls? France has some good news for you.

Sponsored Article
How to launch your international career
National
Le Soleil! French set to enjoy long Ascension weekend in the sun
Sponsored Article
What's the best way for expats to transfer money abroad?
May the 4th be with you: How the French translated Star Wars
National
Why France has a major problem with the US and EU free trade deal
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Proust's personal archives to go under the hammer in Paris
National
Who exactly are the masked rioters causing havoc across France?
French rail passengers must now pay to change their tickets
Travel
Here are nine must-see landmarks in Paris you may have missed
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Society
Paris makes love-lock bridge even more love-lock proof
Lifestyle
Parisians paying dearly for their bad 'parking'
Society
What's on in France: Ten great things to do in May
Society
Protesters clash with police over France's new labour laws
National
French dangerously 'unprepared' for future natural disasters
Is it really safe to come to France for Euro 2016?
National
Salah Abdeslam: Pot-smoking 'little moron' is finally back in Paris
Rail strike: Passengers in France face major disruption
Cats in a cafe?!? Nine of the quirkiest things you can see in Paris
National
VIDEO: The moment a Paris suicide bomber blew himself up
National
Why there's another rail strike in France and why there will be more
National
Winter is coming (back). Why is France so cold right now?
National
WWI's Anzac Day heroes honoured in northern France service
Lifestyle
VIDEO: Did you know all these stars spoke great French?
Culture
How did the French end up with their 'crazy' numbers?
Politics
Why this man could become the next president of France
2,769
jobs available