G8 summit: Europe will ‘pay the price’ if it arms Syrian rebels, Assad warns
US set for tense talks with Russia over arming rebels
Monday 17 June 2013
Europe will “pay the price” if it delivers arms to rebel forces in Syria, President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with a German newspaper.
“If the Europeans deliver weapons, the backyard of Europe will become terrorist and Europe will pay the price for it,” he said in an advance extract of an interview due to be published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Tuesday.
He also warned that delivering arms would result in the direct export of “terrorism” to Europe. Assad was commenting for the first time since the United States announced on Thursday that they would be supplying military aid to rebels fighting for his overthrow, Assad said: “Terrorists will gain experience in combat and return with extremist ideologies.”
The threats from Assad come as Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama prepare for a frosty meeting later at the G8 summit, where disagreement over the Syrian civil war has stolen focus from the rest of the agenda.
The Russian president finds himself isolated over whether to aid the anti-Assad rebels, against whom the balance of the two-year conflict has recently turned. And at their first face-to-face meeting in a year, Obama will try to convince him to bring Assad to the negotiating table.
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Assad warns West against supporting ‘al Qaeda rebels’
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Wednesday that Western nations would pay a “heavy price” for supporting Islamist Syrian rebels linked to al Qaeda, warning that the terrorist group would strike at the heart of Europe and the US.
President Bashar al-Assad accused the West on Wednesday of supporting al Qaeda militants in Syria’s civil war and warned they would turn against their backers and strike “in the heart of Europe and the United States”.
Assad also launched his strongest criticism yet of neighbouring Jordan for allowing thousands of fighters to cross the border to join a conflict he insisted his forces would win and save Syria from destruction.
“We have no choice but victory. If we don’t win, Syria will be finished and I don’t think this is a choice for any citizen in Syria,” the defiant president said in a television interview.
Assad’s forces have been fighting back across the country against rebels who have taken control of much of rural Syria and seized a provincial capital in March for the first time in two years of fighting.
The conflict started with mainly peaceful demonstrations but descended into a civil war in which the United Nations says at least 70,000 people have been killed. Islamist militants have emerged as the most potent of the anti-Assad rebels.
Drawing parallels with Western support for anti-Soviet fighters in Afghanistan in the 1980s, some of whom later formed the al Qaeda organisation which attacked the United States in Sept. 2011, Assad said Washington and Europe would regret supporting rebels in Syria.