September 4, 2013
Note: English translation of the Le Figaro interview reposted from SANA, the Syrian state government news agency.
President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview to Le Figaro. Following is the full text:
Le Figaro: Mr.
President, the Americans and the French have accused you of
perpetrating a chemical attack on the 21st of August in Ghouta, which
led to the death of hundreds. Do you have evidence to suggest that your
army did not launch the attack?
President al-Assad: First
of all, anyone making such an accusation is also responsible for
providing the evidence to substantiate the allegation. We have
challenged them to present a shred of legitimate evidence, which they
have not been able to do. Since their foreign policy should be tailored
to suit the interests of their own people, we have challenged them to
present legitimate evidence to their own public opinion to substantiate
their claims; again they have not done so.
Secondly, where is the logic in us carrying out an attack of this
nature: two years into the crisis I can confidently state that the
situation on the ground is much better now than it was a year ago; how
is it conceivable then that an army making significant advancements on
the ground through conventional armament would resort to using weapons
of mass destruction?
I am neither confirming nor denying that we possess such weapons – this
is not a matter for discussion. For the sake of argument, if the army
had such weapons and decided to use them, is it conceivable that it
would use them in areas where its own troops are deployed? Where is the
logic in that? Additionally is it really plausible that the use of these
weapons in a heavily populated area in the suburbs of the capital did
not kill tens of thousands; these substances travel in the air.
Le Figaro: Were soldiers from the Syrian Army injured by the weapons?
President al-Assad: Yes, in the ‘Baharia’ area, in the suburbs of Damascus; the inspectors from the UN team met with them in hospital.