The United States needs to be prepared for “every action” if it attacks Syria. Such an attack, said President Bashar al-Assad, would carry “repercussions.”
Assad made the comments in an interview with Charlie Rose of PBS. Excerpts of the interview were broadcast Monday morning on CBS.
When asked by Rose how Syria would react to an attack by the U.S., Assad said “you should expect everything. Not necessarily from the government. ... You have different parties, you have different factions, you have different ideologies.”
When asked if chemical weapons would be used, Assad replied that they very well could be, but not by his government, which opposes their use. However, he said, rebel groups, whom he terms “terrorists,” may have them, and they may use them.
Assad said he could not “confirm or deny that we have chemical weapons,” but denied that he had used them in last month's attack on a Damascus suburb that saw 1,400 people killed. "There has been no evidence that I used chemical weapons against my own people,” Assad told Rose.
The interview marks Assad’s first one with an American television outlet in nearly two years. The interview was conducted on Sunday, September 8, at the Presidential Palace in Damascus. It will be broadcast in its entirety Monday night 9 pm Eastern, on outlets around the world that carry Rose's program.
The interview will be broadcast as President Barack H. Obama himself takes to the airwaves to explain his stance, seeking support for an attack on Syria's chemical weapon stores. Obama will appear in six separate interviews on Monday, on all major US networks (including CNN and Fox News).
On Saturday, in a radio address, Obama said that “failing to respond to this outrageous attack would increase the risk that chemical weapons could be used again; that they would fall into the hands of terrorists who might use them against us, and it would send a horrible signal to other nations that there would be no consequences for their use of these weapons.”