Defiant Syrian PM: We will attack foreign aggressors like in Yom Kippur War

Wael al-Halqi warns of "graveyard of invaders" if West strikes.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
August 28, 2013 21:38
2 minute read.
Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halki .

Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halki 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/SANA/Handout)

 
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Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi on Wednesday warned against foreign military action taken on his country asserting that Syria would become a "graveyard of invaders" AFP reported.

Al-Halqi accused Western powers of creating pretexts to strike the Damascus regime, adding that Syria will "surprise the aggressors as it surprised them in" the Yom Kippur War in 1973, when Arab states launched a surprise attack on Israel.

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The "colonialist threats" of foreign nations "do not terrorize us because of the will and determination of the Syrian people, who will not accept being humiliated," AFP quote Halqi as saying on state television.

Western powers have been weighing possible military action in Syria in order to punish the Syrian President Bashar Assad's government, who they blame for last week's poison gas attack.

Crisis in Syria - full JPost.com coverage

People in Damascus stocked up on supplies on Wednesday and some left homes close to potential targets as US officials described plans for multi-national strikes on Syria that could last for days.

Forces loyal to Assad's government appear to have evacuated most personnel from army and security command headquarters in central Damascus in preparation for a possible strike, residents and opposition sources said on Wednesday.



United Nations chemical weapons experts completed a second field trip to rebel-held suburbs, looking for evidence of what - and who - caused an apparent poison gas attack that residents say killed hundreds of people a week ago.

But as UN chief Ban Ki-moon appealed for unity among world powers and sought more time for the inspectors to complete their work, Washington and its European and Middle East allies said their minds were made up and Assad must face retribution for using banned weapons against his people.

Syria's government, supported notably by its main arms supplier Russia, cried foul. It blamed rebel "terrorists" for releasing the toxins with the help of the United States, Britain and France and warned it would be a "graveyard of invaders".

Syrian officials say the West is playing into the hands of its al-Qaida enemies. The presence of Islamist militants among the rebels has deterred Western powers from arming Assad's foes - but they say they must now act to stop the use of poison gas.

Britain pushed the other four veto-holding members of the UN Security Council at a meeting in New York to authorize military action against Assad to protect Syrian civilians - a move certain to be blocked by Russia and, probably, China.

The United States and its allies say a UN veto will not stop them. Western diplomats called the proposed resolution a manoeuvre to isolate Moscow and rally a coalition behind air strikes. Arab states, NATO and Turkey also condemned Assad.

Washington has repeatedly said that President Barack Obama has not yet made up his mind on what action he will order.

A senior US official said strikes could last several days and would involve other armed forces: "We're talking to a number of different allies regarding participation in a possible kinetic strike," the administration official said on Wednesday.

Western armies are expected to wait until the UN experts withdraw. Their initial 14-day mandate expires in four days, and Ban said they need four days work.

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