• 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)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
IN PICTURES
French property face-off: The Vendée vs Limousin
The old barn or the old mill? What would you spend your money on? Photo: Leggett

French property face-off: The Vendée vs Limousin

Would you prefer a converted mill in the Vendée or a renovated barn in the Limousin region of France? Take a look at these two very different revamped properties in France that are on the market and decide what would you rather spend your money on. READ  

'Sixty French lawmakers file suspect tax returns'
French lawmakers could be in big trouble with the taxman. Photo: AFP

'Sixty French lawmakers file suspect tax returns'

In what could end up a major tax scandal in France some 60 French lawmakers are in trouble with the taxman after their financial disclosures to the public didn’t quite match up with what they’d declared to authorities, according to media reports. READ  

Tour de France 2015: Five crucial stages
The 2015 Tour de France route. Image: Le Tour.fr

Tour de France 2015: Five crucial stages

Here's a look at the key stages in the 2015 Tour de France after the route was unveiled in Paris on Wednesday. Look out for the Alpe d'Huez on the penultimate day. READ  

Discover the route of the 2015 Tour de France
The famous Alpe de Huez climb, which will be climbed on the penultimate stage of the 2015 race. Photo: AFP

Discover the route of the 2015 Tour de France

The route of the 2015 Tour de France was unveiled on Wednesday with one of the major surprises being the penultimate day of racing, which will see the peloton climb the mythical Alpe d'Huez in the French Alps. READ  

French Socialist party rift breaks into war of words
President François Hollande's first government feel a long time ago, with ousted ministers now in an open war of words with Socialist Party chiefs. Photo: AFP

French Socialist party rift breaks into war of words

Splits plaguing France's ruling party came to the fore on Wednesday as ousted ministers and allies of embattled President Francois Hollande engaged in a very public war of words. READ  

Paris Opera lays down rules over Muslim veils
Paris Opera has reminded staff not to allow anyone enter the building if their face is covered. Photo: Panoramas/Flickr - Miguel Medina/AFP

Paris Opera lays down rules over Muslim veils

The management at Paris Opera have issued a memo to staff not to allow entry to anyone whose face is covered. It comes after a Muslim woman was asked to leave a performance of La Traviata earlier this month after she was spotted wearing a niqab face veil. READ  

Calais: Mass migrant fight leaves dozens hurt
The migrant crisis in Calais is becoming increasingly violent and disruptive. Photo: AFP

Calais: Mass migrant fight leaves dozens hurt

Tensions were high in Calais on Tuesday night after police were forced to seal off a district in the port town after a mass brawl between migrants from Ethiopia and Eritrea, left dozens injured. READ  

Paris: Luxury hotel staff strike for better pay
A protester joins members of the CGT union gathering on October 7, 2014 in front of the Royal Monceau hotel. Photo: Joel SAget

Paris: Luxury hotel staff strike for better pay

A rebellion among hotel workers at some of Paris's luxury hotels continued this week with staff at the deluxe Royal Monceau-Raffles - where the presidential suite costs €25,000 a night - staging a walk-out to protest over their low wages. READ  

Champions League
Cavani rescues PSG with later winner in Cyprus
Edinson Cavani rescues PSG with a late winner in Cyprus on Tuesday. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP

Cavani rescues PSG with later winner in Cyprus

Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani rescued Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday as his solo strike with three minutes remaining was enough to defeat Apoel Nicosia 1-0 after the Cypriots dominated for large periods of the match. READ  

Profile
French suicide: 'Racist' author taps into malaise
A French right-wing author's new book is selling lots and lots of copies, but why? Photo: Pierre Verdy/AFP

French suicide: 'Racist' author taps into malaise

A controversial new book by French polemicist Eric Zemmour is flying off the shelves and shows no sign of stopping. The notorious right-wing writer and polemicist appears to have struck a chord with a French public feeling disillusioned and "lost". READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sport
Discover the route of the 2015 Tour de France. There are a few surprises
Gallery
Ten changes that would make learning French so much easier
Culture
IN PICTURES: 'Glass ship' Vuitton ready to set sail in Paris
International
How a giant 'sex toy' earned an American artist a slap in Paris
National
'Unlike in the US the French don't put the blame on the poor'
Gallery
Cover up and don't be too Latin: French travel warnings for the US
Society
Macholand: The online uprising against sexism in France
Gallery
In pictures: The daily life of the 2,000 migrants in Calais
Culture
Erotic promo video earns the Musée d'Orsay our "Only in France" award
International
'I love the UK, but I could die getting there': Struggles of Calais migrants
National
Seven reasons why everyone should work in a bar in France
National
The cost of expat home comforts: How France compares to Europe
International
Why don't Calais migrants stay in France? The Local went to find out
National
What are the pros and cons of working as an au pair in France?
Society
Is France's generous welfare state about to get a little stingier?
Gallery
Extraordinary images of ordinary life in the poor Paris suburbs
Gallery
10 things expats love and loathe about life in France
National
So why don't many women in France breastfeed?
National
'Stop bashing La Belle France' - French PM tells UK press
International
UK warns Brits of 'high threat' from terrorism' in France
National
VIDEO: 'The Kama Sutra is not a dirty little text'
National
What Rome could teach Paris and vice versa
Gallery
What do foreign countries warn their citizens about when visiting France?
Gallery
IN IMAGES: Eiffel Tower opens new glass floor above Paris
Society
Is it really better to grow old in the UK and the US rather than France?
Gallery
It's that time if the year again: French sportsmen reveal (almost) all
Gallery
So what do the French find really weird about Anglos?
Travel
Paris museums to open seven days a week but unions are not happy
Culture
Caption contest: What happened when Jay Z met Sark O?
International
This explains why the French never seem to get a sense of déjà vu?
National
VIDEO: Here's a view from the Eiffel Tower you haven't seen before
Travel
Do Paris's iconic rooftops deserve Unesco World Heritage status?
Opinion
'France cannot reform, the pilots' strike showed us this'
National
'We just don’t work hard enough in France.' Is that true?
International
France has moved to beef up security in various public places
National
Hiking naked in France does not come risk-free
Culture
10 French customs that confuse Anglos
National
IN PICTURES: A look inside France's 'most notorious' prison
International
Isis urges killing of 'spiteful, dirty' French
National
Paris installs new device to stop 'love lock' craze
National
Paris cabby dies in vicious high-heel attack
National
'Paris is a sexy city, its beauty is inspiring'
Culture
Depardieu: ‘I drink 14 bottles of booze a day’
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

651
jobs available