Interview: Our special envoy to Damas Georges Malbrunot interviewed, in a world exclusive, the Syrian president Bassar al-Assad. Here are some excerpts from this interview.
LE FIGARO: Can you prove that your army did not turn to chemical weapons on August 21 in the neighborhood of Damas where the attack which killed more than 1000 people, as you are accused by Barack Obama and François Hollande?
BASSAR AL-ASSAD: Whoever is doing the accusing should offer some proof. We have defied the United States and France to bring forth a single proof. Mssrs. Obama and Hollande have been incapable of such, of doing so before their people. [The paper deletes some material here with a (…)] I am not saying that the Syrian army has or doesn’t have such weapons. Let’s suppose that our army wishes to use such weapons of mass destruction: Is it conceivable it would do so in an area where it [the army] is itself located and where its own soldiers are injured by these arms, as has been noted by the inspectors of the UN visiting the hospital where they were being treated? Is that logical?
What will your response be in case of military strikes against your country?
The Middle East is a powderkeg, and the fire is drawing closer today. It must not only be spoken of the Syrian response, but also that which may be be provoked after the first strike. Because no one can know that which will come to pass. Everyone will lose control of the situation when the powderkeg explodes. The chaos and extremism will spread. The risk of a regional war exists.
Will France become an enemy of Syria?
Anyone who contributes to strengthening the finances and army of the terrorists [the rebels, obviously] is the enemy of the Syrian people. Anyone who works against the interests of Syria and its citizens is an enemy. The French people are not our enemy, but its policies and the government are hostile to the Syrian people. To the extent that the policies of the French nation are hostile to the Syrian people, the state will be their enemy. This hostility will come to an end when the [French] government changes its policies. There will be repercussions, negative ones obviously, to the interests of France.