President Bashar al-Assad said that the United States and its allies should “expect every action” in retaliation if military strikes are launched on Syria.
Assad’s comments, during an interview with Charlie Rose broadcast on CBS This Morning, came as President Obama tries to persuade Congress to authorize an attack on Syria over claims it used chemical weapons.
“Nobody could expect what will happen if U.S. attacks,” Assad said. “This war is against the interest of the Unites States.”
“You have different parties, you have different factions, you have different ideology. You have everything in this region now,” said Assad. “I am not fortune teller to tell you what’s going to happen.”
Asked if Iran or Hezbollah would respond to a U.S. military strike, he said: “Yeah.”
This is Assad’s first on-camera interview since an alleged chemical-weapons attack against his own people on Aug. 21, which the U.S. says killed 1,429 people, including 426 children.
Assad continued to deny that the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical attack. He said “the Russians have completely opposite evidence” when it comes to chemical attacks in Syria.
According to a full transcript released on Monday, he dared Obama to make the administration’s evidence public: “He didn’t present it because he doesn’t have.”
Playing to some of the concerns of the Obama administration, Assad repeatedly invoked the memory of the Iraq war and September 11.
He referred to the run-up to the Iraq war as a precedent, noting that the evidence that the Bush administration presented “was false and forged.” “We were disappointed by [the Obama administration’s] behavior recently because we expected this administration different from Bush’s administration,” he said. “They are operating the same doctrine with different accessories.
He warned that by striking the US “is going to support al-Qaeda and the same people that kill Americans in the 11 of September.” He said he had warned U.S. officials ahead of the September 11 attacks not to deal with terrorists “as playing games. It’s different story.”
“You are going to pay the price, if you are not wise in dealing with terrorists.”
Asked if he was expecting a military strike he said “we have to expect the worst.”
The full interview will air Monday night at 9 p.m. on PBS.