President Bashar Assad has warned the US to "expect everything" should it attack the Syrian regime. The ambiguous caution, which possibly referred to terror attacks on US interests, was broadcast on Monday in a preview of a forthcoming interview conducted by journalist Charlie Rose in Damascus for US broadcaster CBS.
"You should expect everything... expect every action," Assad said. "Not necessarily from the government."
Within the preview, Assad, whose forces are alleged to have deployed chemical weapons in the Syrian capital in late August, denies using the deadly arsenal, while likening US foreign policy under Barack Obama to that of his predecessor George W. Bush.
Assad responds to a question from journalist Charlie Rose in Damascus
When asked about Secretary of State John Kerry’s assertion that the US has proof that the Assad regime used Sarin gas, the president said: "We have the precedent of Colin Powell ten years ago when he showed the evidence [that Iraq had WMDs], it was false and it was forged," adding that the United States' credibility was at an "all-time low."
Assad continued: "What do wars give America? No political gain, no economic gain, no good reputation. United States is at all-time, credibility is at all-time low. So this war is against the interests of the United States."
When the interviewer question Assad on whether nuclear weapons are worse than chemical weapons, Assad scoffed, adding, "I don't know, we haven't tried either." The US remains the only country to date that has used nuclear weapons in combat.
Speaking on CBS on Sunday, Rose reflected on the Assad interview: “He denied that he had anything to do with the attack. He denied that he knew, in fact, that there was a chemical attack, notwithstanding what has been said and notwithstanding the videotape. He said there’s not evidence yet to make a conclusive judgment.”
Secretary of State John Kerry gives a news briefing on Syria in London
On Monday, Kerry said that the control of Syria’s chemical arsenal resides with only three people - President Assad, his brother Maher and an army general, so far unnamed.
Reported by Reuters, Kerry told a briefing in London: "The chemical weapons in Syria... are controlled in very tight manner by the Assad regime. It is Bashar al-Assad, Maher al-Assad, his brother, and a general who are the three people who have control over the movement and use of chemical weapons".
But under any circumstances, the Assad regime is the Assad regime and the regime issues orders and we have high level regime (members) that have been caught giving these instructions and engaging in these preparations."