WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Syrian President Bashar Assad warned the United States that it could face “repercussions” if a military strike is launched.
In an interview with CBS News, Assad told Charlie Rose that “you should expect everything” if Syria is attacked and “not necessarily through the government.”
“The government is not the only player in the region. You have different parties, you have different factions, you have different ideologies, you have everything in this region now,” Assad said.
Assad invoked the 9/11 terror attacks that killed thousands while speaking about possible retaliation.
“Before the 11th of September, in my discussion with many officials in the United States … [I told them] don’t deal with the terrorists as playing games,” Assad said. “It’s a different story. You’re going to pay the price if you’re not wise dealing with terrorists.”
The Syrian leader cautioned that a U.S. military strike would only embolden Al Qaeda within the Middle East country.
“First of all, because this is the war that is going to support Al Qaeda and the same people that kill Americans in the 11 of September,” Assad said. “The second thing that we all want to tell to the Congress, that they should ask and that what we expect, we expect them to ask this administration about the evidence that they have regarding the chemical story and the allegations that they presented.”
Assad charges in the interview that the Obama administration does not have “a single shred” of evidence his forces used chemical weapons.
“We’re not in the area where … the alleged chemical attack was happened, as is alleged. We’re not sure that anything happened,” Assad said.
President Barack Obama accuses the Assad regime of launching a chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21 that left more than 1,400 people dead, including hundreds of children, in the suburbs outside of Damascus.
Assad compared Secretary of State John Kerry’s claims that chemical weapons were used to ones that Colin Powell, former secretary of state under President George W. Bush, made about weapons of mass destruction before the United Nations to justify going to war in Iraq.
“He presented his confidence and he presented his convictions,” Assad told CBS News. “It’s not about confidence, it’s about evidence. … The Russians have completely opposite evidence that the missiles were thrown from area where the rebels controlled. That reminds me — about what Kerry said — about the big lie that Colin Powell said in front of the world on satellites about the W.M.D. in Iraq before going to war when he said, ‘This is our evidence.’ Actually, he gave false evidence.”
He added, “In this case, Kerry didn’t even present any evidence. He talks, ‘We have evidence,’ and he didn’t present anything, not yet. Nothing so far.”
Assad said he can’t predict the future as to if a chemical attack would be launched against the United States.
“That depends if the rebels or the terrorists in this region have it. It could happen, I don’t know,” Assad said. “I’m not a fortune teller to you what’s going to happen.”
Assad called himself a doctor to the Syrian people and denied accusations that he is a “butcher.”
“When you have a doctor to cut the leg to prevent the patient from the gangrene, you don’t call him a butcher; you call him a doctor, and you thank him for saving lives,” Assad told CBS News.
Obama is trying to drum up support to take action against Assad’s regime, calling on Congress to authorize a military strike. The president will address the nation from the White House on Syria Tuesday.