April 28, Yahoo

DUBAI (Reuters) - The Syrian site Israel bombed in September was not part of a nuclear weapons program, but was a military facility under construction, President Bashar al-Assad said in remarks published on Sunday.

Last week, Washington released intelligence alleging Syria had built a nuclear reactor with North Korean help before an Israeli air strike destroyed the facility on September 6.

"Is it logical? A nuclear site did not have protection with surface to air defenses? A nuclear site within the footprint of satellites in the middle of Syria in an open area in the desert?" Assad told Qatar's al-Watan newspaper in an interview conducted before the U.S. accusations were made.

At that stage, he was commenting on media reports that said the target was a nuclear site. "The truth is that the raid was at a military site under construction," Assad said in the interview. "We are against mass destruction weapons for Israel, Iran or others."

Assad said it was illogical for Syria to seek a nuclear bomb. "Where would we use it? On Israel it would kill the Palestinians. I do not see this as logical."

Assad accused Washington of ignoring a Syrian proposal to make the Middle East a region free of weapons of mass destruction "because it included Israel."

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photo: This undated image released by the U.S. Government shows a building after it was bombed in Syria. The White House on April 24, 2008 broke its official silence on the mysterious September 6, 2007 Israeli air strike. 'We are convinced, based on a variety of information, that North Korea assisted Syria's covert nuclear activities,' White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said in a statement. The statement came after intelligence officials briefed U.S. lawmakers about the Syrian nuclear facility that was destroyed by Israel last year.
(U.S. Government/Handout/Reuters)