Abdullah: Syria attack 'tremendous blow'

July 19, 2012 at 3:17 PM
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LONDON, July 19 (UPI) -- The attack that killed three members of Syrian President Bashar Assad's inner circle was a "tremendous blow" to Assad's regime, Jordan's King Abdullah II said.

"I mean, obviously, this is a tremendous blow to the regime," Abdullah told CNN.

But, he added: "Damascus has shown its resilience. So I think maybe we need to keep this in perspective. Although this is a blow, I'm sure that the regime will continue to show fortitude at least in the near future."

In an interview Wednesday on the U.S. network, Abdullah warned Syria is on the brink of civil war and expressed concern some of its stockpile of chemical weapons could end up in the hands of al-Qaida.

"It's getting very, very messy, to a point where I think the worst-case scenario for all of us in the region is when you get full-out civil war, there is no coming back from the abyss," Abdullah said.

He said "if civil order breaks down to the point of no return, then it will take years to fix Syria. And I have a feeling that we're seeing the signs of that over the past three weeks. The only people that can bring us back from that brink is obviously the president and the regime. And I believe this is the last chance that they have."

On the chemical weapons, Abdullah said: "Our information is that there is a presence of al-Qaida in certain regions inside Syria, has been there for a while. And, again, one of the worst-case scenarios as we are obviously trying to look for a political solutions would be that if some of those chemical stockpiles were to fall into unfriendly hands."

Since the Syrian crisis began in March 2011, the United Nations estimates more than 10,000 people have been killed in the violence. Opposition leaders said the death toll is closer to 15,000.

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