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Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi

Syrian Information Minister, Omran al-Zoubi: “If any US or foreign military intervention takes place, then it will have very grave repercussions, first of which would be chaos and fire which will burn the entire Middle East”.

Damascus, (SANA-H. Sabbagh) – Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi reiterated that Syria never used any chemical weapons in any shape or form, not in the Ghouta area in Damascus countryside nor anywhere else, and that it would never use it even if it possessed it, adding that there’s evidence that such weapons were used by terrorist groups including satellite imagery and witness testimonies.

In an interview given to al-Mayadeen TV on Saturday, Minister al-Zoubi said that Syria and its friends have incontrovertible proof that the projectiles in question were launched from sites controlled by terrorists on sites containing civilians, therefore terrorists are fully responsible for these actions and all their repercussions.

He pointed out that the Syrian armed forces seized a warehouse in Jobar area containing large containers of chemical materials manufactured in Saudi Arabia and certain European countries, medicine for protection from chemicals in case the terrorists were exposed to them, and equipment used in manufacturing chemicals, adding that this isn’t the first time the army uncovered warehouses containing chemicals made in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and some European countries.

Al-Zoubi stressed that if any chemical weapons were used in areas including Jobar, then they were used by members of terrorist groups and the foreigners who operate with them and constitute the true basis of these groups and who showed no scruples in committing any act.

The Information Minister cited what happened in Khan al-Assal, saying that those who used chemical weapons there can use it anywhere else, and that the use of such weapons shows that the terrorist groups are feeling helpless and confused as they attempt to halt the Syrian Army’s progress.

Al-Zoubi affirmed that Syria is cooperating in a significant, transparent and direct manner with the UN committee investigating chemical weapons use, adding that Syria will never permit inspection committees under any pretext and that this is a final position, and as far as the UN committee is concerned, its task is to investigate specific incidents such as what happened in Khan al-Assal as per the agreement between Syria and the UN which has nothing to do with inspection which violates sovereignty.

He explained that the committee will investigate sides agreed upon by the committee and the Syrian Foreign and Expatriates Ministry, including Khan al-Assal which prompted Syria to request the committee in the first place.

The Minister said that the committee informs the Syrian authorities of its movements and that the authorities in turn will ensure their safety and requirements in areas where there are no terrorist groups, while other areas are a different matter altogether.

Al-Zoubi said that Syria made clear its decision to confront terrorist groups which must surrender their weapons and withdraw from areas where chemical weapons were allegedly used so that the committee can inspect them and so that Syrian state establishments can also examine the areas and the environmental situation in them, adding that those who speak from abroad on behalf of the terrorist groups must order them to withdraw from these areas.

He noted that when the recent incidents took place, Syria said in an official statement that there’s an attempt to divert the committee from its tasks and mission because it has sites to visit and evidence to go through, and that the attempts to disrupt the committee shows dissatisfaction over the way Syria responded to this team and its cooperation with it, saying that this would explain why the Ghouta incident took place on the first day of the committee’s actual work.

The Minister wondered why the US didn’t act when Khan al-Assal incident took place, pointing out that at that time, Syria made an official complaint, addressing the UN and requesting an investigation committee, adding “when they realized that the ones who committed the crime in Khan al-Assad were armed terrorist group, they tried to delay the committee and started hindering any agreement and talking about several areas and conditions.”

On news of the US increasing its ships’ presence in the Mediterranean, al-Zoubi said that the US habitually has a fleet in the Mediterranean, but if the media talk about the US administration considering “options” is meant to pressure Damascus to cease its military operations against terrorists, then this pressure will not succeed and is a waste of time, as confronting terrorism in Syria will continue and is an issue form which the Syrian leadership will not back down.

He explained that the international and regional conditions don’t permit a US military strike against Syria, asserting that such an attack is no picnic to any side, as there are international and regional balances to be considered and actual facts on the ground.

“If the Americans connect their movements in the region to talk about chemical weapons and their use and bring ships and forces, then this connection is tenuous and shows a lack of understanding of the matter,” al-Zoubi said.

“When investigations prove that armed groups were the ones who used chemical weapons , will the US attack the armed terrorist groups which it adopts and arms with its regional allies? Will the international community take a real stance or will it look for an excuse for those groups and justify their use of this kind of weapon?” he wondered.

The Minister said that the idea of foreign military intervention isn’t valid because Syria is still a standing state with its establishments, army and its own strength, not to mention its honest friends, allies and brothers in the region.

Al-Zoubi stressed that if any US or foreign military intervention takes place, then it will have very grave repercussions, first of which would be chaos and fire which will burn the entire Middle East.

He asserted that Syria is still prepared to participate in the Geneva conferences without preconditions, saying that the ball isn’t in Syria’s court now but rather in the court of those who reject the political course and seek solutions that employ force, threats, economic sanctions and other similar steps.

The Minister concluded by saying that the Syrian government has two parallel courses: the political course and combating terrorism, affirming that neither courses will be abandoned at any time because they are a national, regional and international necessity, and that this position will remain the same whether the Geneva conference is held or not.