Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Foreign-backed militants responsible for Syria violence: Assad

Iran Press TV

Sun Feb 24, 2013 5:41PM GMT

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has blamed foreign-backed militants for almost two years of violence in his country, saying the government forces are only retaliating terrorist attacks.

Assad said in an interview broadcast on German television that the Syrian government did not start the conflict and it is the militants who are killing Syrian people and destroying the country's infrastructure.

He also rejected claims that Damascus could use chemical weapons against the militants fighting against the government, stressing that those making the claim are trying to exert more pressure on Syria.

The Syrian president also criticized Turkey for its anti-Damascus stance and said Ankara has asked NATO to deploy Patriot missiles on its soil only to portray Syria as a threat.

Assad said his future can only be decided by the Syrian people.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of security personnel, have been killed in the violence.

The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.

In a key speech on January 6, Assad called for an end to the terrorist operations inside Syria and urged 'concerned states and parties' to stop funding, arming and harboring militants.

He added that his government is always ready to hold talks with the opposition and would call for a 'comprehensive national dialog' after foreign parties end their support for the militants and the terrorist activities cease in the country.

HM/PKH/SS



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