Assad: Loss of chemical weapons is blow to Syria's morale, political standing

By YASSER OKBI, THE POST CORRESPONDENT
October 14, 2013 12:16

During a gathering in his palace, Syrian President Bashar Assad jokes that he should win Nobel Peace Prize.

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Syria's President Bashar Assad speaks during an interview with Fox News, September 19, 2013.

Bashar Assad 370. (photo credit:REUTERS/SANA/Handout)

Syrian President Bashar Assad told a number of guests gathered in his palace in Damascus recently that his country’s loss of chemical weapons resulted in a blow to its morale and political position.

“There is no doubt that the loss of chemical weapons has resulted in a loss of morale and a political loss for Syria. Since 2003, Syria has demanded that the countries in the region dismantle their WMDs, and the chemical weapons were meant to be a bargaining chip in Syria’s hands in exchange for Israel dismantling its nuclear arsenal,” Lebanese Hezbollah identified newspaper Al-Akhbar reported Monday Assad as saying.

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“The chemical weapons, which have lost their deterrent value over the past few years,  were meant to be used only after Israel used its nuclear weapons,” Assad said.

"Today the price has changed and we have agreed to give up our chemical weapons to remove the threat of the US attacking us."

According to Assad, the chemical weapons had an influence on Syria’s morale because “Israel would distribute gas masks to its citizens when there was a rise in tension in the region.”

Assad told the guests that Syria had stopped producing chemical weapons in 1997 because they were not efficient arms.

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“Five of our soldiers were injured by chemical weapons that were used by the terrorists, and after they received an injection they returned to the battlefield after two days,” Assad said.

On the issue of the issue of the global chemical watchdog OPCW’s recent Nobel Peace Prize win, Assad joking with his guests said, “That prize should have been given to me.”

According to the report, Assad addressed the possibility of war with Israel, saying, “I know that it would be enough to fire conventional missiles at Israeli airfields in order to cause immense damage and incapacitate it, because Israel is strong due its air force.”

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