Syrian President Bashar Assad says his country no longer needs chemical weapons to deter Israel.
“We now possess deterrent weapons that are more important and more sophisticated than chemical weapons,” Syrian President Bashar Assad told visitors to his palace in Damascus on Thursday.
He emphasized that he had no need for chemical weapons.
According to the report, which was carried by the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar, Assad said this was because the situation in Syria “has never been better,” as “we created chemical weapons in the ’80s as a deterrent against Israel’s nuclear arsenal. Today, it is no longer a weapon of deterrence.”
“We have weapons that are more important and more sophisticated to challenge Israel, which we can blind in an instant.”
“In Syria there are thousands of tons of chemical weapons that have become a burden to us since their destruction costs a great deal of money and could take years to destroy.”
“They also create environmental challenges and others that would need solving. So they [UN inspectors] should just come and take them,” Assad said.
[Getting rid of] the chemical weapons is not the goal of the United States and their allies, and it never has been,” he said. “They wanted to change the balance of power and to protect Israel.”
“We turned the tables and sent the ball into their court. This move embarrassed them in front of the American public, in Europe and even in front of the U.S. government,” he said.
Assad praised the “unprecedented collaboration with Russia,” and added that “we have an agreement with Russia that they will intervene, in a big way, if Syria is attacked.”
U.S. still may still attack
Earlier, during an interview that was broadcast on Venezuelan television, Assad said he would not rule out the possibility of a U.S. attack, despite the fact that he had agreed to the supervision of the country’s chemical weapons.
In the lengthy interview with Telesur, Assad fired back at U.S. President Barack Obama's Tuesday speech to the UN General Assembly, accusing the Obama administration of "lying to the American people" about the Syrian regime's alleged use of chemical weapons that has formed the basis for a proposed U.S.-led strike.
Assad also said that he believed a military strike was still a very real threat, despite the UN Security Council making progress this week on a resolution that would place Syria's chemical weapons under international supervision.
"His speech was more of the same – full of allegations based on fabrications and lies," Assad said.
Russia and the U.S. confirmed on Thursday that they had reached an "understanding" on a proposed UN resolution to place Syria's chemical weapons under international supervision.
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