27 August 2013 — Xinhua
Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al- Moallem challenged the Western powers Tuesday to provide their evidence on the involvement of the Syrian troops in chemical arms use in Damascus’ countryside.
“If there is anyone who accuses Syria of using chemical weapons, I challenge him to show any proof about his claim to the public,” Moallem told a press conference Tuesday.
He said he had assured U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during a recent phone call that Damascus has interest in revealing the reality of the chemical attack that supposedly took place in Damascus’ countryside, stressing that the Syrian government has lived up to its part of the deal with the UN but the rebels hindered the mission of the UN inspectors.
“Syria has evidences about the alleged chemical incident in the countryside of Damascus and will present it in due time,” the minister said.
On Aug. 21, the Syrian opposition claimed that some 1,300 people were killed in a chemical weapon attack carried out by the Syrian army on militant strongholds in the suburbs of Damascus. The Syrian government strongly denied the accusation.
The UN chemical investigation team, originally scheduled to spend up to 14 days, with a possible extension, was currently probing the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria upon the request of the Syrian government as it and the rebels blamed each other for a purported chemical-weapons attack in the northern town of Khan al-Assal on March 19 that killed at least 25 people and wounded 130 others.
Regarding a possible U.S. military attack on Syria, the top Syrian diplomat said that any possible military strike will not affect the government troops’ advancement against the rebels.
TO DEFEND SYRIA BY ALL MEANS
Furthermore, al-Moallem said that the U.S. might be pushing for more concessions from Syria and Russia, asserting “We prefer war to giving up to the (U.S.) extortion.”
“Syria will defend itself with all available means in case the U.S. decided to attack the country,” he stressed.
“We have means to defend ourselves that would surprise the world and we must be confident in victory,” he went on saying.
“Syria will remain united and its decision will remain independent… Syria is not an easy prey,” the minister said, hailing Syria’s main international ally; Russia, saying “Russia is part of our steadfastness.”
Slamming the U.S. intentions, al-Moallem charged that Washington has always been against the political solution in Syria “because Israel doesn’t want a solution in Syria.”
“If they want to launch an aggression against Syria, the pretext about the use of chemical weapons is inaccurate and murky, and if the goal behind their campaign is a moral influence on the Syrian people, they are wrong and I challenge them to show the evidence,” he said.