Damascus: A move by the United States, France and Britain of submitting a draft resolution to the U.N. Security Council proposing placement of Syrian chemical weapons under international control has been severely condemned by the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying they are fighting an “imaginary enemy”.
While giving an interview, Assad said that he is not concerned about the draft resolution and China and Russia would “ensure any excuse for military action against Syria will not stand.”
Assad stated, “I am not concerned. Since its independence, Syria has been committed to all the treaties it has signed. We will honor everything that we have agreed to do.”
“And more importantly, I want to say, by submitting the draft to the U.N. Security Council, or by urging the U.S. and Russia to agree on a deal, the U.S., France, and Britain are just trying to make themselves winners in a war against a Syria which is their imaginary enemy,” he added.
Russia and the United States brokered the deal to put Assad’s chemical arms stockpiles under international control to avert possible U.S. military strikes that Washington said would punish Assad for a poison gas attack last month.
Washington has blamed Assad’s forces for the attack, which it said killed more than 1,400 people. Assad blamed “rebels” battling to overthrow him, saying it made no sense for his forces to use chemical weapons when they are gaining the upper hand and while U.N. chemical inspectors are staying in central Damascus.
Under the U.S.-Russian deal, Assad must account for his chemical weapons stockpiles within a week and see them destroyed by the middle of next year.
Envoys from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China – met last week for a third straight day to discuss a draft resolution Western powers hope will make the deal legally binding.
Russia, a key ally of Assad, is unhappy with the draft’s references to possible punitive measures against Syria under Article 7 of the U.N. charter, which talks about U.N. authorization for sanctions and military force.
Assad said, “We know that these terrorists are obeying the orders of other countries and these countries do drive these terrorists to commit acts that could get the Syrian government blamed for hindering this agreement.”
He added, “Syria has been manufacturing chemical weapons for decades so it’s normal for there to be large quantities in the country.”
“We are a nation at war, we’ve got territories that have been occupied for more than 40 years, but in any case, the Syrian army is trained to fight using conventional weapons,” Assad added.
He also said that the chemical weapons are stored “under special conditions to prevent any terrorist for other destructive forces from tampering with them, that is, destructive forces that could come from other countries.”
“So there is nothing to worry about. The chemical weapons in Syria are in a safe place that is secure and under the control of the Syrian army,” Assad concluded.