Damascus - Syria's President Bashar Assad said a suspected chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held town was a "fabrication" to justify a US military strike, in an exclusive AFP interview.
"Definitely, 100% for us, it's fabrication... Our impression is that the West, mainly the United States, is hand-in-glove with the terrorists. They fabricated the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack," Assad said on Wednesday, in his first interview since American cruise missiles hit a central Syrian air base.
Assad warned that he would only allow an "impartial" external investigation of last week's suspected chemical attack, in an exclusive interview with AFP in Damascus.
"We can only allow any investigation when it's impartial, when we make sure that unbiased countries will participate in this delegation in order to make sure that they won't use it for politicised purposes," Assad said Wednesday.
Government ally Russia on Wednesday vetoed a draft UN Security Council resolution demanding Syria cooperate with an international investigation of the attack.
Assad said his government handed over all its chemical weapons stockpiles in 2013 and could not have been behind last week's suspected sarin attack.
"There was no order to make any attack... We gave up our arsenal a few years ago. Even if we have them, we wouldn't use them," Assad said in an exclusive interview with AFP in Damascus on Wednesday.