WASHINGTON — Syrian President Bashar Assad is warning the U.S. of repercussions if it launches a military attack against him, as the Obama administration tries to persuade Congress to authorize a strike and Russia encourages Syria to turn over its chemical weapons arsenal to avoid one.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made the surprise announcement Monday that Moscow was pressing its ally Syria to move its chemical weapons to areas under international control to avoid a U.S. military strike, with the Obama administration pressing ahead for action. President Barack Obama was blitzing the television airways with interviews on six Monday evening news broadcasts, while dispatching his senior foreign policy team to lobby Congress.
Assad granted an interview to American television journalist Charlie Rose to contradict accusations by the Obama administration that his government used sarin gas in a Damascus suburb Aug. 21, killing 1,429 people. Assad accused the Obama administration of spreading "lies" and said they have not presented a "single shred of evidence" to the public. He warned an attack could bring retaliation in the volatile region.