Syria says it will only use its chemical and biological arsenal against “external aggression,” and never against own population. The US has warned the Arab country against using the arsenal under any circumstances. Torn by a 16-month civil conflict, Syria will not use the weapons against its own people, Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi assured on Monday.
"Any chemical or bacterial weapon will never be used – and I repeat will never be used – during the crisis in Syria regardless of the developments," he said. "All of these types of weapons are in storage and under security and the direct supervision of the Syrian armed forces and will never be used unless Syria is exposed to external aggression," added Makdissi .
This is the first time authorities in Damascus have admitted that they possess chemical weapons – a fact guessed by many, but never supported by concrete evidence. Syria is purportedly in possession of nerve agents, including mustard gas, as well as Scud missiles capable of delivery. The country is one of six states that have not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, which outlaws production. Besides Syria, the list of non-signatories includes Angola, North Korea, South Sudan, Egypt, and Somalia.
Following the statement, the Pentagon warned Syria not to think "one iota about using chemical weapons." Worries over the Syrian arsenal have also spilled across the EU and UN. "It would be reprehensible if anyone in Syria would use weapons of mass destruction," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said the use of chemicals by the Syrian government in any situation would be “unacceptable” and that the warning issued by Damascus on Monday “is typical of the complete illusion of this regime, that they are the victims of external aggression.”
European Union foreign ministers stated they were "seriously concerned about the potential use of chemical weapons in Syria." This was later somewhat played down by the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who said that while information is limited, there is "no reason to have an immediate concern about them being taken out or removed" from the Arab country.
Israel and US press Syria over chemical arsenal
Syria's assurances come on top of Israel and the US’s voiced worries that the chemical arsenal risks ending up in the wrong hands as the Arab country continues to face a tense internal struggle.
Thus, Israeli officials made several statements intimating that they reserve the right to react should the weapons end up in the hands of Hezbollah following the fall of President Bashar al-Assad’s. Tel Aviv has not ruled out using military intervention to prevent such a scenario from playing out. Read More: Syria warns will use chemical weapons in case of foreign attack — RT
18.07, 14:21308 comments
Three key Syrian military officials including Defense Minister Gen. Daoud Rajha and President Bashar al-Assad’s brother-in-law Assef Shawkat, who served as his deputy, were killed at a top-level meeting in central Damascus.Syria unrest