Assad Warns France Against Military Strikes
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday warned France of potential negative fallout on French interests in the event of a military intervention in Syria. He also said France and the U.S. have failed to show evidence that his army carried out an attack with chemical weapons.
In an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro, Mr. Assad said military strikes in Syria would have terrible consequences in the region and would put the Middle Eastern “powder keg” on fire. “Everybody will lose control of the situation when the powder keg explodes,” he said. “Chaos and extremism will spread. The risk of a regional war exists.”
French government policy is “hostile” to Syria, Mr. Assad said, adding that a strike will have “negative consequences” on French interests unless the French government changes its policy, the Syrian leader said.
French President François Hollande stepped to the fore last week as the lone Western ally willing to join U.S. President Barack Obama in potential strikes against Mr. Assad’s regime. Mr. Obama’s surprise decision to seek authorization from Congress rather than strike swiftly, however, has unexpectedly exposed Mr. Hollande to a prolonged public debate at home and sharp divisions in the French Parliament.
On Wednesday, Mr. Hollande’s government is due to address Parliament on the Syrian conflict and France’s potential involvement in striking the regime. Mr. Hollande isn’t required to seek parliamentary approval before taking any action.
On Monday, the French government released a report that it said definitively proves the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime.