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'Assad is a lion' says top Syrian diplomat in Poland

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 06.09.2013 08:40
Dr. Idris Mayya, charge d'affaires at the Syrian Embassy in Warsaw says President Assad will “fight terrorists to the end”, as divisions were evident over Syria at the G20 summit.

Reports suggest the G20 dinner last night in St Petersburg was dominated by divisions over Syria: photo - PAP/EPA/RAMIL SITDIKOV

Speaking to the TVN24 news station on Thursday, Syria's top diplomat in Poland, Idris Mayya said the president of Syria “is a lion, who will fight to the end in his support of his people”.

Admitting that chemical weapons were used near Damascus on 21 August, the charge d'affaires asked: “Why would the Syrian army use these weapons at a time when it was successfully fighting armed bandits?”

Idris Mayya likened the United States and France's search for a 'smoking gun' linking the chemical weapon attack, which US secretary of state John Kerry said killed nearly 1500 people, to the Assad regime to Colin Powell's now infamous presentation to the United Nations of evidence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction before the second Gulf War.

“Colin Powell said he had evidence, President Obama says that he has evidence. But if you have evidence and pictures that rockets were fired from an area held by Syrian government forces, why not make this available to the world? And why do they not want to wait for the results of the international investigation team?” the Syrian diplomat asks.

Meanwhile, a split on a military strike against the Assad regime emerged at the G20 summit currently taking place in St Petersburg.

Italy's prime minister Enrico Letta tweeted last night after a dinner attended by President Obama and President Putin: "the G20 has just now finished the dinner session, at which the divisions about Syria were confirmed".

Before the summit began, Russia and the US both claimed to have evidence pointing to different sides in the civil war having the potential to use chemical weapons.

President Obama said that, “these weapons are in Assad's possession, we have intercepts of people in the regime before and after the attack acknowledging it, we can show rockets going from Assad controlled areas into rebel territory with the weapons.”

Russia's foreign minister, however, said Russia had its own dossier showing that rebel forces had used the banned weapons in the spring of this year, adding that Russian scientists made tests on samples from the northern town of Khan al-Assal following an alleged March 19 chemical attack, claiming that this showed that rebel fighters were most likely to blame. (pg)

tags: Syria
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