Syria would only use chemical weapons if close to defeat - Assad

Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin.
Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin. Photo credit: Reuters

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says he doesn't have any chemical weapons, but if he did, he'd only use them if he was losing the war.

He says allegations of their use are a pretext for invasion by other countries.

"We don't have, no, since 2013 we don't have [chemical weapons]," he told Russia's state-controlled television channel NTV.

"But put this aside, even if you have it, you should be using those weapons at least if you are being defeated, not if you win the war - and actually every time we are winning, they use it. So this is again the logic, that this is used as pretext in order to support the terrorists in Syria."

Syria has been charged repeatedly with using chemical weapons in its civil war, most recently in April in the town of Douma. The United States, France and the United Kingdom launched air strikes in retaliation.

Mr Assad said reconstructing Syria after the devastation wrought by the war could cost US$400 billion, but added "we are not worried about that".

He said "loans from your friends", funds from the Syrian diaspora and money from the government as well as Syrians living in the country would be enough.

Mr Assad said he won't allow "the West" to be a part of the reconstruction.

"Whether they come with money, without money, whether they came with loans, or with donation, with a grant, whatever. We don't need the West. The West is not honest at all. They don't give. They only take."

He said meeting US President Donald Trump, like North Korean leader Kim Jong-un did, would be a "waste of time".

"The problem with American Presidents is that they are hostages to their lobbyists, the mainstream media, to the huge corporations, financial, oil armaments, et cetera, so they can tell you whatever they want."

APTN / Newshub.