If the US does indeed strike Syria, "you should expect everything," "expect every action," from Syria in response, President Bashar al-Assad tells Charlie Rose in a new interview. CBS This Morning previewed the interview today; it airs in full on PBS tonight. Some of Assad's quotes, from CBS and the Guardian:
- "You should expect everything. Not necessarily from the government," Assad said when asked about Syria's response to a US strike. Syria is "not the only player in this region," Assad said, likely referring to Iran and Hezbollah. "You have different parties, you have different factions, you have different ideology. You have everything in this region now."
- Asked if that retaliation might include chemical warfare, Assad said it depends on whether "the rebels or the terrorists in this region or any other group have it. It could happen, I don't know. I am not fortune teller."
- "There has been no evidence that I used chemical weapons against my own people," Assad said; he insisted President Obama has not presented any evidence to Congress. (One report suggests the army may have used chemical weapons without Assad's OK.) Rose said Assad claims to feel remorse over the attack nonetheless, and that he would neither confirm nor deny whether his government has any chemical weapons. (If it does, Assad said, the weapons are under "centralized control.")
- "Our soldiers in another area were attacked chemically. Our soldiers," Assad said. "They went to the hospital as casualties, because of chemical weapons. But in the area where they said, 'The government used chemical weapons,' we only had video and we only have pictures and allegations. We're not there. Our forces, our police, our institutions don't exist. How can you talk about what happened if you don't have evidences? We're not like the American administration, we're not social media administration or government. We are the government that deal with reality."
- "We are against any WMD, any weapons of mass destruction, whether chemical or nuclear," Assad insisted.