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

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

Bashar Assad 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/SANA/Handout)
Bashar Assad 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/SANA/Handout)
Syrian President Bashar Assad told a number of guestsgathered in his palace in Damascus recently that his country’s loss of chemicalweapons resulted in a blow to its morale and political position.
“There is no doubt that the loss of chemical weapons hasresulted in a loss of morale and a political loss for Syria. Since 2003, Syriahas demanded that the countries in the region dismantle their WMDs, and thechemical weapons were meant to be a bargaining chip in Syria’s hands inexchange for Israel dismantling its nuclear arsenal,” Lebanese Hezbollahidentified newspaper Al-Akhbar reported Monday Assad as saying.
“The chemical weapons, which have lost their deterrent valueover the past few years,  were meant tobe used only after Israel used its nuclear weapons,” Assad said.
"Today the price has changed and we have agreed to give upour chemical weapons to remove the threat of the US attacking us."
According to Assad, the chemical weapons had an influence onSyria’s morale because “Israel would distribute gas masks to its citizens whenthere was a rise in tension in the region.”
Assad told the guests that Syria had stopped producing chemicalweapons in 1997 because they were not efficient arms.
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“Five of our soldiers were injured by chemical weapons thatwere used by the terrorists, and after they received an injection they returnedto the battlefield after two days,” Assad said.
On the issue of the issue of the global chemical watchdogOPCW’s recent Nobel Peace Prize win, Assad joking with his guests said, “That prizeshould have been given to me.”
According to the report, Assad addressed the possibility ofwar with Israel, saying, “I know that it would be enough to fire conventionalmissiles at Israeli airfields in order to cause immense damage and incapacitateit, because Israel is strong due its air force.”