President Bashar al-Assad said Thursday that Syria will defend itself against any attacks, as Washington and its allies mull military action in response to the alleged use of chemical arms.
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"Syria will defend itself in the face of any aggression, and threats will only increase its commitment to its principles and its independence," the embattled leader told a visiting delegation of Yemeni politicians, according to state television.
"Syria, with its resistant people and valiant army, is determined to wipe out terrorism which is being backed by Israel and Western nations to serve their own purposes of sowing division in the region, fragmenting its people and forcing them into submission," he said in his first reaction to the potential US strikes.
"The people are the guarantors of victory and that is what is happening in Syria," said Assad, whose regime uses the terms "terrorism" or "terrorists" to describe the rebels battling to end his rule.