Assad Promises Full Compliance With Inspectors

Syrian president says he will comply with Russian-brokered deal over chemical weapons, but warns "rebels" could attack inspectors.

Ari Soffer,

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
AFP photo

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said that his regime will allow international inspectors full access to its chemical weapons sites, but added that rebels could prevent them from reaching certain locations.

"I'm referring to places where gunmen exist. Those gunmen might want to stop the experts' arrival," Assad told Chinese state TV in an interview recorded in Damascus on Sunday.

Assad said that his government would comply fully with the terms of a Russian-brokered deal which would see Syria hand over its chemical weapons stockpile to international inspectors, as a way of avoiding western military intervention.

He said that his government will ensure that experts arrive "at the places where we produce and store our chemical weapons."

On Friday, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed that the Assad regime had met a deadline to hand over data concerning its chemical weapons stockpile. The Russian government had previously warned it could remove its support for Assad if he did not comply fully with the terms of the deal.

In the Sunday interview, Assad also dismissed a draft resolution by western states threatening military action in the event his regime does not comply with the deal, saying he was "not worried."