Assad: Israel supporting 'terror groups' in Syria

Syrian president hits out at Israel in interview; says Israel is helping rebels target important sites.

May 18, 2013 19:47
1 minute read.
Syrian President Bashar Assad heading a cabinet meeting in Damascus, February 12, 2013.

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

Syrian President Bashar Assad accused Israel of “directly supporting terrorist groups” in Syria, referring to rebels fighting against his regime, in an exclusive interview with Argentinian newspaper Clarin, which was shared with The Observer on Saturday.

“Israel is directly supporting the terrorist groups in two ways, firstly it gives them logistical support and it also tells them what sites to attack and how to attack them,” The Observer quoted Assad as saying, in reference to recent alleged Israeli strikes on his country.

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“For example, they attacked a radar station that is part of our anti-aircraft defenses, which can detect any plane coming from overseas, especially from Israel,” he told Clarin’s reporter Marcelo Cantelmi during the interview, held in the library of his palace.

Assad described international intervention as a “clear probability, especially after we’ve managed to beat back armed groups in many areas of Syria.”

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“Then these [Western] countries sent Israel to do this to raise the morale of the terrorist groups. We expect that an intervention will occur at some point although it may be limited in nature,” he opined.

Assad denied reports that fighters from Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards had traveled to Syria to militarily aid the regime, but said that members of both groups had been “coming and going” long before the crisis began.

However, he categorically stated, “we do not have fighters from outside Syria.”

He also denied claims by the rebels that his regime had used chemical weapons, and purported that the West “lies and falsifies evidence to engineer wars.”

He further rejected accusations that his army was using excessive force, asking his interviewer “How does one define excessive force? How can one decide whether excessive force has been used or not? What is the formula to be applied?”

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