• 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
France pushes Middle East to battle IS fighters
France has called on Middle East nations to battle Islamic State fighters. Photo: Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP

France pushes Middle East to battle IS fighters

France urged Middle East nations to take a stand against the Islamic State fighters operating nearly unchecked in Syria and Iraq. The French president also plans to set up an international summit to craft a response to the extremists. READ  

'Apocalyptic' vomiting bug hits French tourists
Hundreds of French tourists fell ill at a posh Greek resort. Photo: Screengrab/Lindo Hotels

'Apocalyptic' vomiting bug hits French tourists

Hundreds of French tourists fell violently sick a a posh Greek hotel creating what one visitor called an "apocalyptic" scene that had guests vomiting in the swimming pool and hallways. READ  

The view from La Rue
Paris tourists defy anti-love locks crusade
A campaign to persuade tourists to take selfies rather lock padlocks to bridges is falling on deaf ears it seems. Photo: AFP

Paris tourists defy anti-love locks crusade

After Paris launched a campaign to persuade tourists to throw away their love locks and pose for selfies instead, The Local popped down to the famous Pont des Arts to find loved-up visitors defiantly refusing to put down their pad locks. READ  

Hollande unveils reforms to help France's hard-up
François Hollande has announced a raft of reforms imed at boosting the country's most hard-up. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

Hollande unveils reforms to help France's hard-up

President François Hollande on Wednesday vowed to go "faster and further" with reforms as he announced a raft of measures to bolster France's stagnant economy including fairer income tax levels and a relaxation of Sunday shopping rules. READ  

Future of Paris 'not promising', study says
Paris is among the world's most influential cities, but for how much longer? Photo: La Defense.

Future of Paris 'not promising', study says

A new study says Paris is in the top three of the world's most influential cities, but its position is under threat and the city's future is apparently "not promising". READ  

Northern France hopes beer will boost tourism
Nord-Pas-de-Calais hopes to take advantage of its beer heritage to boost tourism. Photo: Thomas Huguen/AFP

Northern France hopes beer will boost tourism

It already has wine, champagne and cider and but a hard-up region of northern of France, is hoping to boost its local tourism industry by tapping into another drink which forms part of its proud heritage – locally brewed beer. READ  

Interview: Liberation of Paris
'Three years underground and then the call came'
David Leiba was a Jewish French resistance fighter who helped liberate Paris from the Nazis. Photo: Joshua Melvin/The Local

'Three years underground and then the call came'

David Leiba lived underground as a French resistance fighter for years before resurfacing in the rebellion that forced the German army out of Paris. He tells The Local of his memories of the ecstatic and terrifying final moments of the Nazi occupation READ  

Hollande returns to work as problems mount up
President François Hollande and his PM Manuel Valls discuss their return to work. Photo: Bertrand Langlois/AFP

Hollande returns to work as problems mount up

The French president returns to the front line on Wednesday for his first cabinet meeting. On his packed agenda will be the stagnant economy, the threat of deflation, unemployment and more in-fighting within his own party. READ  

France tries to take sting out of Asian hornets
France is fighting back against the Asian hornet, using rods, chickens and drones. Photo: T-Mizo/Flickr

France tries to take sting out of Asian hornets

After slipping into southwest France 10 years ago in a pottery shipment from China Asian hornets have since invaded more than half the country. Now France is fighting back, using drones, poisoned rods and even chickens. READ  

Liberation of Paris: Ten things you need to know
Ten facts you didn't know about the liberation of Paris, including how many female collaborators were "purified". Photo: Critical past/YouTube

Liberation of Paris: Ten things you need to know

From the "purifying" of thousands of women, to pool room surrenders, here's ten facts about a momentous moment in French history that you might not have known about. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Watch this impressive time lapse video and you'll want to move to Paris
National
Veiled Muslim woman on a French beach prompts politician's angry rant
Travel
Forget Paris and Provence where are the least touristy areas of France?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The battle to liberate Paris from the Nazis
National
What France means to you in just one tweet
National
15 French 'false friends' you need to watch out for
International
12 reasons to invest in Paris and seven not to
National
French hamlet 'Death to Jews' mulls name change
National
French tourist caught in Pompeii brothel romp
International
'Forget the Anglo-media's image of France, the reality is much different'
Culture
VIDEO: Francophile Robin Williams enjoyed poking fun at the French
Travel
Six reasons why France is the world's top tourist destination
International
Remembering the 'forgotten campaign' in the liberation of France
Gallery
VIDEO: French bucket list - The 12 best things to do in France
International
Do three French cities deserve to be in top 10 "World 's Most Unfriendly"?
Gallery
Don't make a faux pas! Ten things not to do when working in France
Health
Ebola: What is the risk of it coming to France?
Health
Are the French really a nation of smokers?
Culture
Frightened by the prospect of long French dinners? You're not alone
National
'Stay in Paris in August? You'd have to be crazy'
International
Calais migrant crisis: 'People will be killed if nothing is done'
Culture
Paris is closed for August, but will it always be like that?
Culture
Paris: The not-so-Grande Arche has fallen into a sorry state
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