Syria Warns U.S.: Don't Attack Us
Amid speculations that U.S. President Barack Obama may decide on some form of military action in Syria in response to a deadly chemical attack last week, Syria on Saturday warned the U.S. against taking such a move.
Syria's Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi dismissed the possibility of an American attack, warning that such a move would risk triggering more violence in the region.
"The basic repercussion would be a ball of fire that would burn not only Syria but the whole Middle East," al-Zoubi told the Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen TV.
"An attack on Syria would be no easy trip," he warned.
Al-Zoubi placed the blame on the rebels for last week’s chemical attacks, saying that the Syrian government had proof of their responsibility.
"The rockets were fired from their positions and fell on civilians. They are responsible," he stated.
Meanwhile, Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Abbas Arakji, warned that U.S. military intervention in Syria will "complicate matters."
"Sending warships will not solve the problems but will worsen the situation," Arakji told the Iranian Arabic-language Al-Alam TV.
He added that any such U.S. move does not have international backing and that Iran "rejects military solutions."
On Friday, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that if claims that Syria used chemical weapons several days ago are true, a speedy response will be needed to prevent another such attack.
A senior Defense Department official told CNN that military planners have updated Syrian target lists.
The U.S. navy is expanding its presence in the Mediterranean Sea with a fourth cruise-missile-armed warship.
In a CNN interview, Obama on Friday called the alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians "a big event of grave concern," but was very cautious as regards the possibility of using force in Syria, noting that there is still a war going on in Afghanistan.
A preliminary assessment made by U.S. and allied intelligence agencies has concluded that chemical weapons were indeed used by Syrian forces in an attack near Damascus this week.
It is believed the attack was carried out with high-level approval from the government of President Bashar Al-Assad.