Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Middle East

Syria crisis: We will defend ourselves 'by all means,' foreign minister pledges


Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Moallem was defiant today, vowing to defend the country “by all means” if it was attacked.

“We have two options: either to surrender, or to defend ourselves with the means at our disposal,” he said. “The second choice is the best: we will defend ourselves,” he said. He also called US allegations that the government has used chemical weapons “categorically baseless” and compared them to the charges levied against Iraq before the 2003 war. “They have a history of lies,” he said of the US.

Mr Moallem repeated his government’s accusation that it was the opposition trying to hinder UN weapon inspectors, blaming them for the unidentified sniper attack on the mission on Monday. That security breach caused the mission to delay its visit to sites of the attacks. 

As rhetoric heated up about the action which would follow the UN’s expected conclusion that chemical weapons were used, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdullahian said such action would have disastrous consequences.

In Lebanon, Sheikh Afif Nabulsi said that any US strike against Syria “would be met by harsh responses against US interests in the region and against Israel directly.” Israel said it would defend itself.