Syria’s foreign minister today denied that his country had used chemical weapons and warned Western nations against an attack on the Middle Eastern nation.
Speaking at a news conference, Walid Moallem said “Syria is not easy to swallow” and had “the materials to defend [itself].” He predicted his country would “surprise others.”
Moallem categorically denied that Syria had used chemical weapons on its own populace and challenged the country’s accusers to provide evidence. “There is no country in the world that uses weapons of mass destruction against its people,” he said. ”If anybody who has got any evidence [of Syrian forces’ using such weapons,] I dare them to bring it out to the public.”
The foreign minister also blamed rebels for the problems U.N. inspectors have had in trying to investigate the alleged chemical attacks, and said the government was not attempting to delay them.
The inspectors came under fire from unidentified snipers yesterday, and Moallem said their trip to Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus Tuesday had been delayed by security concerns.
Meanwhile, senior U.S. military officials have said that the United States could launch three days’ worth of cruise-missile strikes against Syria beginning as early as Thursday. The United States has moved four destroyers closer to Syria in the Eastern Mediterranean (though NBC notes that move is largely for show: Tomahawk missiles could easily strike the country from further away).