‘Syria not an easy target for US’

‘Syria not an easy target for US’
Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:16:30

A senior Syrian official says his country will defend itself against any western attack and will not be an easy target as the US and other countries heat up rhetoric in response to an alleged chemical attack last week near the Syrian capital.

In an interview with the Associated Press in Damascus, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said airstrikes or other action against Syria would also trigger “chaos” and threaten worldwide peace and security.

The United States has claimed that there is little doubt that the Syrian army was responsible for the assault, and US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Monday the Obama administration is “considering all different options.”

The deputy foreign minister, however, warned Syria was ready to respond.

“There will be no international military intervention,” Mekdad said in the interview at his office. “If individual countries want to pursue aggressive and adventurous policies, the natural answer ... would be that Syria, which has been fighting against terrorism for almost three years, will also defend itself against any international attack.”

“They will bear the responsibility for such an attack, which will result in killing thousands of innocent people, as happened in Libya, and committing criminal actions against a sovereign country,” Mekdad added. “Syria will not be an easy target.”

Mekdad did not elaborate on how Syria might defend itself, but he said such an attack would trigger “chaos in the entire world.”

He said the UN should be given a chance to probe before any judgment is made, “not strike and then start judging.”

“The team is going to do its work. It is not the business of the United States to judge because the final judgment will be that of the team. The team knows what to do,” he said.

Mekdad spoke shortly after the UN said unidentified snipers opened fire at one of the UN vehicles carrying a team investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons. The Syrian government blamed the militants of firing at the team.

The deputy foreign minister also said the position of the French government is “shameful and full of lies and irresponsible” and said the same applies to the position of the UK and other European countries “which have become promoters of terrorism.”

Mekdad said he is “100 percent confident” that neither the Syrian army nor anyone who is part of the Syrian government used chemical weapons, adding the Syrian regime “will never use them against its own people, if it has them.”

“If such a thing has happened, then it is the armed groups,” he said.

BA/BA

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