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Assad says fire of Syria could spread to Jordan

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday threatened the crisis in Syria could spill over into Jordan, in an hour-long interview with official Al-Ikhbariya channel.

"The fire will not stop at our borders; all the world knows Jordan is just as exposed (to the crisis) as Syria," said Assad, accusing Jordan of allowing rebels and arms free movement across its borders.

"I cannot believe that hundreds (of rebels) are entering Syria with their weapons while Jordan is capable of arresting any single person with a light arm for going to resist in Palestine," Assad said.

"We would wish that our Jordanian neighbours realise that... the fire will not stop at our borders; all the world knows Jordan is just as exposed (to the crisis) as Syria."

Jordan is hosting some 500,000 Syrian refugees, the UN says.

Assad meanwhile reiterated his regime's position that the country is suffering the consequences of a foreign attack.

"There is a bid to invade Syria with forces coming from the outside, of different nationalities, though they follow new, different tactics from those followed by those who came to colonise the region, and from those used by the United States to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan," he said.

"There is an attempt at cultural colonisation, meaning ideological invasion, in Syria, leading in one of two directions.

"Either Syria becomes subservient and submissive to big powers and the West, or it becomes subservient to obscurantist, extremist forces. We need to hold on ever more strongly to the meaning of independence."

Assad meanwhile warned the West, whom he accused of stoking Syria's conflict and aiding the rebels, against the "terrorism" striking his country.

"The West has paid heavily for funding Al-Qaeda in its early stages in Afghanistan. Today it is doing the same in Syria, Libya and other places, and will pay a heavy price in the heart of Europe and the United States," Assad said.

"The West does not know that this terrorism will hit back at it, though Western media outlets have started to warn of this danger...

"In Mali, they fight Al-Qaeda, and in Syria they support it."

Last week, jihadist rebel group Al-Nusra Front pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda's chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, who earlier had urged Syrian rebels to establish an Islamic state in the country.

And rejecting the possibility of humanitarian intervention in Syria's conflict, Assad said such a policy "would only aim to destroy the Syrians" by making them dependent on foreign aid.

"No to submission, no to dependence," he insisted.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130417/assad-says-fire-syria-could-spread-jordan-0