May 16 - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad tells Russian Television that countries that ''sow chaos'' in Syria could suffer from it themselves. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad sits down with Russian Television where he said that countries that sow chaos in Syria could find themselves infected at home. He was asked about weapons smuggling in the region. (SOUNDBITE) (English overlaid with Russian translation) SYRIAN PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD SAYING ACCORDING TO RUSSIAN TRANSLATION: "You should understand, nobody here can control their borders, neither Syria nor the neighboring countries. You can't simply close the border and stop the smuggling, but you can reduce the flow. Most of the weapons have been coming in from Lebanon and Turkey so far but we have no proof at all that the authorities of these countries have been promoting smuggling in the past. Since recently -- and it refers first of all to Lebanon and Jordan -- they have been trying to fight against it and to stop it. I don't want to say that the position of the authorities has changed somehow, if we take into consideration the developments in Syria, the events in Libya and other countries. For the leaders of these countries, it's becoming clear that this is not 'Spring' but chaos, and as I have said, if you sow chaos in Syria you may be infected by it yourself, and they understand this perfectly well." The Syrian President Assad was asked whether he contributed to the violence because he was too slow in adopting reforms. (SOUNDBITE) (English overlaid with Russian translation) SYRIAN PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD SAYING ACCORDING TO RUSSIAN TRANSLATION: "The problem of terrorism is now very acute for Syria. It seems to some people that if we conducted the reforms earlier, the situation would have been better now. It's not right for one reason --- terrorists spit on reforms, they are not fighting for reforms, they are fighting to bring terror." Assad said Western sanctions are affecting Syria's economy but Damascus could find a way to survive given its relationship with non-Western countries. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.