Syria says ready for attack ‘at any moment’

DAMASCUS: The Syrian government says it’s expecting a military attack and is “ready to retaliate at any moment,” according to a security official who wished to remain anonymous.

“We are expecting an attack at any moment. We are ready to retaliate at any moment,” the security official in Damascus told AFP. 

This comes as the UN chemical inspection team finished its work in the Arab country and returned to the Hague with samples taken at the sites of alleged chemical attacks. Earlier, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said it may be two weeks before for final results of their analysis are ready. 

The US, which has been mulling a military strike on Syria, said they would not attack while the UN team was still in the country. Following State Secretary John Kerry’s Friday Speech, French President Francois Hollande however declared that a strike could come by September 4. 

On Saturday, Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, declared that the idea that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons on its own people was “utter nonsense”. Calling the attack a “provocation” by Middle East forces seeking to get the US involved, he urged Washington to present its evidence to the UN Security Council. 

A poll published Thursday showed German public opinion against military action by the West in Syria, with about three-fifths opposed to any potential strikes, and only about one-third in favor of military intervention. 

Another poll showed that most French people do not want France to take part in military action on Syria, either, and that most do not trust French President Francois Hollande to do so. A BVA poll released by Le Parisien-Aujourd’hui en France, showed that 64 percent of respondents opposed military action, 58 percent did not trust Hollande to conduct it, and 35 percent feared it could “set the entire region [Middle East] ablaze”. 

The French president said that Britain’s parliamentary vote, which rejected a motion authorizing military action in Syria on Thursday, would not affect France’s own actions, however. 

On Thursday, British lawmakers voted against military intervention in Syria by a 285- to-272 margin, rejecting the government’s motion to support military action against Syria in principle. Agencies

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