Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Western claims his regime used chemical weapons were “nonsense,” warning that the United States “faced failure” if it attacked Syria, in comments to Russian newspaper Izvestia published on Monday.
“The comments (accusing the regime of using chemical weapons) made by politicians in the West and other countries are an insult to common sense... It is nonsense,” Assad said, dismissing the claims as politically motivated.
“The United States faces failure (if it attacks Syria), just like in all the previous wars they waged, starting with Vietnam and up to our days,” he added.
China called for a "cautious" approach to the Syrian chemical weapons crisis on Monday. “All parties should handle the chemical weapons issue cautiously to avoid interfering in the overall direction of solving the Syria issue through political settlement,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a statement on the ministry's website, according to AFP.
Beijing backed a U.N. investigation to “find out the truth as soon as possible”, he said. Wang made the comments as the West mulled possible military action against the Syrian regime.
In similar comments made by Iran, Russia voiced concerns on Monday over the possibility Washington may respond militarily to a suspected chemical weapons attack by Syria’s government.
“Lavrov stressed that the official announcements from Washington in recent days about the readiness of U.S. Armed Forces to ‘intervene’ in the Syrian conflict have been received in Moscow with deep concern,” Reuters news agency reported the Foreign Ministry as saying.
Lavrov also warned U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry over the “extremely dangerous consequences” of launching military action against the Syrian regime.
Meanwhile, unidentified snipers shot at U.N. experts on Monday, forcing them to suspend their attempt to investigate claims that chemical weapons had been used near Damascus, a U.N. spokesman said, according to AFP.
“The first vehicle of the chemical weapons investigation team was deliberately shot at multiple times by unidentified snipers,” said U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky. No injuries were reported.
U.N. weapons investigators were due on Monday to inspect the site of a suspected chemical attack which killed at least 1,300 people last week in Damascus suburbs.
The move follows Syria agreeing on Sunday to allow the inspectors to visit the site, although an American official told reporters the move was “too late to be credible.”
Source: Al Arabiya; AFP; Reuters