Strike on Syria serves Israel interests: Syrian FM

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 The Syrian foreign minister has slammed military threats against his country, saying a military strike will only serve Israel’s interests in the region.

“The war effort led by the United States and their allies will serve the interests of Israel and secondly al-Nusra Front (an al-Qaeda-linked group in Syria),” Walid al-Muallem said during a news conference in the capital Damascus.

Western countries and their regional allies have targeted the unity among Syrian people and the army by threatening Damascus with a military attack, he added.

“We have two options: either to surrender, or to defend ourselves with the means at our disposal. The second choice is the best: we will defend ourselves,” al-Muallem said.

He also accused US Secretary of State John Kerry of lying about the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, challenging Washington and its allies to provide evidence.

Denying allegations that Damascus has eliminated all traces of the chemical attack, Muallem said the Syrian army cannot do that because those areas are controlled by the militants fighting against the Syrian government.

He went on to say that Syria has cooperated fully with UN inspectors, adding, “If the purpose of a possible (foreign) military strike is to achieve a balance of power … it’s delusional and not at all possible.”

On Monday, Kerry used harsh language to refer to an alleged chemical attack in the Damascus suburbs of Ain Tarma, Zamalka and Jobar on August 21 where hundreds of people were killed and scores of others injured, saying that an “international norm cannot be violated without consequences.”

Both the Syrian government and the foreign-backed opposition accuse each other of being behind the deadly attack.

The Damascus government, however, has vehemently denied the accusations, saying the chemical attack was carried out by the militants themselves as a false-flag operation.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. The United Nations says more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since the outbreak of the violence.

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