British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Sunday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was “delusional” for failing to see that the bloodshed in his country was at his own hands.
Hague said that he would announce this week more assistance to the Syrian opposition in the form of non-lethal equipment and refused to rule out the possibility of arming them in the future.
Britain has been pushing to lift a ban on the sale of arms to Syria’s rebels, but at a meeting last month European Union foreign ministers ruled that only “non-lethal” aid and “technical assistance” could be given to the opposition.
In an interview with British newspaper The Sunday Times, Assad accused London of wanting to arm terrorists in Syria.
The United Nations estimates 70,000 people have been killed in the 23-month conflict.
In the interview, Assad dismissed the suggestion that Britain could play a constructive role in resolving the conflict, saying: “We don’t expect an arsonist to be a firefighter.”
He added that London had long been out of contact with Damascus and lacked credibility in Syria due to its dealings in the Middle East.
Hague said he would be announcing in parliament this week details of more equipment assistance given directly to the Syrian opposition and warned that Britain could not simply “sit it out” in the conflict.
Asked about arming the opposition, Hague said: “I don’t think we can rule that out for the future.