Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Wednesday predicted that the conflict in his country would spill over to Jordan in an interview Wednesday with state television Al-Ikhbariya news channel.
“We would wish that our Jordanian neighbors realize that… the fire will not stop at our borders, all the world knows Jordan is just as exposed (to the crisis) as Syria,” Assad said, speaking on the anniversary of Syria’s independence day from France.
On Wednesday, Jordanian Information Minister Mohamed Momani said the United States plans to deploy 200 troops in Jordan — 50 more than those already there — “in light of the deteriorating situation in Syria.”
Jordan is believed to have been arming and training Syrian rebels with the help of the CIA, and has been on high alert of security threats from the war-ridden country.
“At the moment, we will not comment on what the president said in order to avoid any political or security fallout. We are studying the situation,” Monami added.
US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel explained that the deployed American troops “will continue to work alongside Jordanian Armed Forces to improve readiness and prepare for a number of scenarios.”
Syrian opposition commanders said last month the CIA had been working with British, French and Jordanian intelligence services to train rebels in the use of various kinds of weapons, according to The Wall Street Journal.
During the hour-long interview, Assad warned that the West would pay a heavy price for what he called its support for Al-Qaeda.
Assad said, “We are facing a new war, a new method” with fighters, “some of whom are Arabs, not Syrians,” adding that “from the first day, what is happening in Syria is dictated from abroad.”
“There is an attempt at cultural colonization, meaning ideological invasion, in Syria, leading in one of two directions; Either Syria becomes subservient and submissive to the big powers and the West, or it becomes subservient to obscurantist, extremist forces.”
“From the beginning, military actions carried out by military forces were to expel the terrorists in different cities,” he added.
External opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, on Thursday slammed President Bashar al-Assad, saying an interview he gave a day earlier showed the embattled leader’s “isolation from reality.”
The external Coalition said Assad’s interview with Syrian state television “revealed his isolation from reality and blindness to the corruption and devastation and bloodshed that he has wreaked.”
Assad’s “approach is like that of tyrants before him,” it said, pointing to “his claims of control and denial of the other and the absence of reality and proposal of solutions that bear no relation to the crises.”
But Assad insisted that a defeat of his government would spell the demise of Syria. Vowing he will not surrender, he said the Syrian people would decide whether he should stay or go.
“There is no option but victory. Otherwise it will be the end of Syria, and I don’t think that the Syrian people will accept such an option,” he said, adding that “the position (of president) has no value without popular backing.”
In response, the Coalition insisted it was “a representative body for all Syrians, emerging from their revolution and their sacrifices and their will.”
During the interview, Assad had asked, “How can you be patriotic if you’ve fled” Syria, in reference to exiled leaders of the main opposition National Coalition, insisting that there would be no dialogue with the exiled opposition.
Last week, the jihadist rebel group Al-Nusra Front pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, who had previously urged rebels to establish an Islamic state in Syria.
The UN says more than 70,000 people have been killed in Syria over the past two years in a conflict that broke out after the regime unleashed a brutal crackdown on a popular uprising that later morphed into an insurgency.