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US using chemical weapons as pretext for intervention in Syria: President Assad

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says the United States is using the issue of chemical weapons as a pretext to carry out an attack against the Syrian army.

Assad said in an interview with Russian television channel NTV on Sunday that such allegations were being used as an excuse for an intervention, Press TV reported.

“The story with chemical weapons is a pretext for a direct military intervention and attacks on the Syrian army,” the president said, adding, “We fully eliminated chemical weapons. We haven’t had them in Syria since 2013.”

The Syrian government surrendered its stockpile of chemical weapons in 2014 to a joint mission led by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry.

Washington and its allies have often pointed the finger at the Syrian government over chemical attacks. Damascus has consistently denied the claim.

“These provocations have nothing to do with reality. This is the result of their own imagination, and that of the media, and something … invented by their mass media is further disseminated across the world through the Internet and other media. That’s why it is impossible to prevent this provocation. Americans constantly lie and attack immediately,” the Syrian president stated.

“When there is no respect for international rules, when there are no efficient UN bodies, you may not speak about preventing provocations and the world lives upon the jungle law,” he said.

In June, the Russian Defense Ministry said US Special Forces were aiding militants to engage in “chemical attack provocation” via chlorine gas to provoke Western airstrikes against Syrian forces.

Assad also said in the same interview that Syria would not accept any Western money to help rebuild the country.

“We have enough strength to rebuild the country. If we don’t have money, we will borrow from our friends, from Syrians living abroad.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Assad said that the Syrian army would regain control of the country’s north by force if militants there refused to surrender.

“We have chosen two paths: the first and most important one is reconciliation… The second path is to attack terrorists if they don’t surrender and refuse to make peace,” Assad said in the interview. “We will fight with them (militants) and return control by force. It is certainly not the best option for us, but it’s the only way to get control of the country.”

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