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Assad: 80-90% of militants in Syria belong to Al Qaeda

September 19, 2013, 6:14 UTC+3

Bashar al-Assad added that Syria is not at the stage of a civil war, but was attacked by Al Qaeda

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WASHINGTON, September 19 (Itar-Tass) - Tens of thousands of militants are fighting in Syria, with about 80-90% of them belonging to the Al-Qaida terrorist network and groups associated with it, President Bashar al-Assad of the Syrian Arab Republic said Wednesday in an interview to Fox News TV channel.

The Syrian President claimed that the country’s authorities have evidence that sarin was used by terrorist groups and that evidence was handed to Russian representatives. Assad also noted that UN inspectors would come back to Syria since their mission isn’t completed yet. He recalled that in March his government invited experts to investigate an incident with alleged use of chemical weapons, but then their visit was blocked by the US.

Bashar al-Assad added that Syria is not at the stage of a civil war, but was attacked by Al Qaeda.

Syria ready to fulfill conditions

Syria will fulfill the terms of the agreement on chemical weapons, as stated by Assad. Syria consents to a transfer of its chemical weapons to any country which will be ready to accept them, he added.

An operation to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons will require about $1 billion and will take at least one year, Bashar al-Assad noted. "I think it is a very complicated technically and it needs a lot of money. Some estimated about a billion for the Syrian stockpile," he said.

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