Obama backs terrorists, Syria’s deputy PM tells UN general assembly

Walid al-Moualem accepts no blame for sarin nerve gas attack in defiant speech

Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Moualem: “How can some countries, hit by the same terrorism we are suffering now in Syria, claim to fight terrorism in all parts of the world while supporting it in my country?” Photograph: Adrees Latif/Reuters

Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Moualem: “How can some countries, hit by the same terrorism we are suffering now in Syria, claim to fight terrorism in all parts of the world while supporting it in my country?” Photograph: Adrees Latif/Reuters

Tue, Oct 1, 2013, 01:00

The Syrian government has accused the Obama administration and other unspecified western countries of supporting terrorist groups inside Syria and of supplying chemical agents for use in poison gas attacks launched by al-Qaeda and its affiliates.

In a defiant speech to the general assembly of the United Nations, Syria’s deputy prime minister, Walid al-Moualem, accepted no blame for the recent sarin nerve gas attack on suburban Damascus that killed hundreds of civilians. Instead, he pointed the finger for the outrages at what he called western-backed terrorist groups.

Referring to the 9/11 attacks on New York, he asked: “How can some countries, hit by the same terrorism we are suffering now in Syria, claim to fight terrorism in all parts of the world while supporting it in my country?”

He went on to claim that terrorist insurgents were engaging in cannibalism inside Syria. “The scenes of murder, manslaughter and eating human hearts were shown on TV screens, but did not touch blind consciences.”

Al-Moualem’s rhetoric came as an international team of chemical weapons experts set out from The Hague bound for Syria under the mandate of last week’s UN security council resolution calling for the dismantling of Syria’s large arsenal. Twenty inspectors are due to arrive in Damascus today.

Al-Moualem’s resounding criticism of US backing for opposition groups in Syria’s ongoing civil war underlines how delicate a task the UN inspectors face. – (Guardian service)