Syria ready for US 'aggression'

President Bashar al-Assad has said Syria is capable of confronting any "external aggression", Reuters reports, citing state television. The United States are seeking approval from Congress to take military action.

Latest ITV News reports

Syrian foreign minister: Obama administration 'lost'

In an interview with ITV News International Editor Bill Neely, Syrian deputy foreign minister Dr Faisal Mekdad said a delay in US military action "shows that he [President Obama] and his administration are lost."

"I hope there should be enough wise people in the Congress to make a decision like the House of Commons in the UK," he added.

On the streets of Damascus, soldiers said they were ready for any attack. But many residents now believe America, like Britain, will not strike at all.

Assad: Syria can confront any external aggression

President Assad reportedly said America's threat "will not discourage Syria away from its principles".

President Bashar al-Assad has said Syria is capable of confronting any external attack , Reuters reports, citing state television.

"Syria ... is capable of confronting any external aggression," Assad is quoted as saying at a meeting with Iranian officials.

"The American threats of launching an attack against Syria will not discourage Syria away from its principles ... or its fight against terrorism supported by some regional and Western countries, first and foremost the United States of America."

Syria generally refers to rebels fighting to topple Assad as "terrorists".


Syria 'ready and waiting for any American aggression'

by - Former International Editor

Syria's deputy foreign minister Faisal Mekdad has said "we are still ready and waiting for any American aggression"

"If we suffer, other Arab countries will suffer in the future", he added.

"The main winner" from President Obama's decision to refer to Congress, says Mr Mekdad, "is Israel, as Congress is pro Israel".

He also warned that any American aggression will have "dangerous consequences" and all international organisations will pay the price.

Mr Mekdad also again denied that the Syrian army launched a chemical attack in Damascus, saying:

"Any crazy people can make a chemical weapons attack. We're against chemical weapons."

US strike delay 'would give Assad time to retaliate'

A rebel commander has said that Syria's embattled President Assad would gain time to prepare for a military strike while President Obama sought Congressional approval in a decision that would likely delay US action for at least 10 days.

Lieutenant Mohammad Abuod of the Free Syrian Army Credit: Reuters

Lieutenant Mohammad Abuod of the Free Syrian Army welcomed Obama's statement, saying: "We have been waiting for this decision for a very long time. Even though it took [the US] some time, they finally took this decision", said the rebel commander from Antakya, Turkey.

"However, Obama's decision to step back from the brink and delay an imminent military strike against Syria to seek approval from the US Congress would give Assad time to prepare for retaliation".

Syria's deputy PM: 'US postponement is laughable'

by - Former International Editor

Syria's deputy prime minister has responded to President Obama's decision to postpone a military strike against Syria.

He said: "A US decision that is a postponement. This is laughable, our military readiness has averted this aggression. We are confident and this confidence is not going to shake."

Many Syrian officials are even confident that the US Congress may turn down the possibility of a military strike, and that one might not happen at all.

It of course gives Syria's army even more time - at least another 10 days - to move equipment, to change positions, and that of course will require a repositioning by the American military.

You could say it is mess, rebels here are obviously deeply disappointed.

Many people are of course relieved that there will not be a strike tonight, but most people are absolutely stunned by this.


Syria anticipates attack could happen any time soon

by - Former International Editor

The people, the government and those that we have been talking to on both sides do believe that an attack is inevitable, because all the signs and signals are there that would point to an attack here any time soon.

The UN inspectors have left, the US has released its intelligence dossier justifying an attack, and the US President spoke yesterday, he is about to speak again.

People stand at the back of their pickup trucks transporting family members and furniture in central Aleppo, Syria. Credit: Reuters/Ammar Abdullah

I am seeing no sign of the Syrian army anticipating this immediately. There are reports that they have been moving equipment, but I have not seen that.

There has been silence from President Assad, although I did see an Iranian delegation that was said to have to met him today, including Iran's security chief. Quite why he was meeting the president, we don't know.

So no panic here, but clear anticipation that an attack could be just hours away.

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