Assad Warns West

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SYRIAN President Bashar al-Assad has warned that Western nations will pay a ‘heavy price’ for supporting al-Qaeda in Syria, warning that the terrorist group would strike at the heart of Europe and the US.

President Assad told Al-Ikhbariya state television on Wednesday: ‘The West has paid heavily for funding al-Qaeda in its early stages.

‘Today it is doing the same in Syria, Libya and other places, and will pay a heavy price in the heart of Europe and the United States.’

Assad said that from ‘the first day, what is happening in Syria is dictated from abroad’.

He stressed: ‘We are facing a new war, a new method with fighters, some of whom are Arabs, not Syrians.’

The president added that the Syrian ‘army is not fighting a war to liberate Syrian territory, but a war on terror’.

He insisted that ‘everyone who carries weapons and attacks civilians is a terrorist, be they al-Qaeda or not.’

Assad warned: ‘There is a bid to invade Syria with forces coming from the outside, of different nationalities, though they follow new, different tactics from those who came to colonise in the region, and from those used by the United States to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan.

‘There is an attempt at cultural colonisation, meaning ideological invasion, in Syria, leading in one of two directions.

‘Either Syria becomes subservient and submissive to the big powers and the West, or it becomes subservient to obscurantist, extremist forces. We need to hold on ever more strongly to the meaning of independence.’

President Assad vowed: ‘There is no option but victory. Otherwise it will be the end of Syria, and I don’t think that the Syrian people will accept such an option.

‘The truth is there is a war and I repeat: no to surrender, no to submission.’

He added: ‘I cannot believe that hundreds are entering Syria with their weapons while Jordan is capable of arresting any single person with a light arm for going to resist in Palestine.

‘We would wish that our Jordanian neighbours realise that… the fire will not stop at our borders; all the world knows Jordan is just as exposed as Syria.’

In Amman, Information Minister Mohammad Momani said the United States plans to deploy 200 troops in Jordan because of the war in neighbouring Syria ‘in light of the deteriorating situation in Syria’.