Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued his strongest words to date regarding a Syrian response to a potential U.S. military strike in his country: “You should expect everything,” Assad said in a CBS interview reported on by The Associated Press Sept 9.
Assad’s retaliatory words come as the U.S. weighs evidence in consideration of a military foray designed to punish Assad and his regime for his alleged use of a sarin gas chemical attack that left close to 1,500 Syrian citizens dead last month.
Recent video evidence obtained from the CIA shows horrific imagery of the aftermath from the Aug. 21 attack. Hundreds of women and children were killed in the assault – one that Assad still denies any involvement in.
As the U.S. works to convince Congress and the American people that a military response is required, news reports continue to raise doubt that Assad was involved.
“If you strike somewhere, you have to expect the repercussions somewhere else,” Assad said in the interview.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was “unmoved by Assad's denial, saying he would be confident going into any courtroom with the evidence gathered by the United States that Syria's government used chemical weapons against its people,” says the AP report.
“What does he offer?” Kerry asked of Assad. “Words that are contradicted by fact.”
National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan echoed Kerry’s words and said she is not surprised by the Assad’s words.
“It doesn't surprise us that someone who would kill thousands of his own people, including hundreds of children with poison gas, would also lie about it,” Meehan said.
President Obama has been steadily making a case for U.S. intervention.
Speaking of the video evidence, President Obama said on Sept. 5 that the U.S. cannot look blindly upon the atrocities.
“We cannot turn a blind eye to images like the ones we’ve seen out of Syria,” Obama said. “Failing to respond to this attack would increase the risk that chemical weapons could be used again.”
Kerry said the U.S. knows “that his regime gave orders to prepare for a chemical attack. We know they deployed forces,” Kerry said.
“So the evidence is powerful and the question for all of us is, what are we going to do about it. Turn our backs? Have a moment of silence?” Kerry asked.
Voting in the Senate regarding Obama’s request is planned for this week, with the matter then being turned over to the House as early as next week.