Nobel prize 'should have been mine,' jokes Syria's Assad
BEIRUT - Agence France-Presse
A poster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad adorns a wall as a United Nations vehicle carrying inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) leaves a hotel in Damascus, on October 9, 2013. AFP PHOTOSyria's President Bashar al-Assad has jokingly said that he should have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, a pro-Damascus Lebanese newspaper reported on Monday.
The prize, which was given to the global chemical weapons watchdog on Friday, "should have been mine", Assad said, according to Al-Akhbar newspaper.
Assad made the remark "jokingly", the daily said, as he commented on the award on Friday of Nobel Peace Prize to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is working in Syria to destroy the Assad regime's massive chemical arsenal by mid-2014. Al-Akhbar also reported that Assad had proposed in 2003 that all countries in the region should hand over all weapons of mass destruction. But the newspaper did not say when Assad made the comments about the Nobel.
The OPCW and the UN have had a team of 60 experts and support staff in Syria since October 1, while the civil war rages on.
The team started its work after a breakthrough UN Security Council resolution last month ordering Syria's chemical stockpile destroyed.
The resolution came after a chemical attack in Damascus province on August 21 that killed hundreds of people.
It also followed US threats to strike Assad's regime.
Syria's war broke out after the army and security forces unleashed a brutal crackdown against anti-Assad protests that erupted in March 2011.
More than 115,000 people have been killed in the conflict so far, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog.