Chemical weapons only against foreign attack: Syria

Syria will only use chemical weapons in case of a foreign attack, foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said on Monday and also rejected an Arab proposal for President Bashar al-Assad to quit power.

‘Syria will not use any chemical or other unconventional weapons against its civilians, and will only use them in case of external aggression,’ Makdissi told a media conference in Damascus.

‘Any stocks of chemical weapons that may exist, will never, ever be used against the Syrian people,’ he said, adding that in the event of foreign attack, ‘the generals will be deciding when and how we use them.’

Fears have been rising that Assad’s regime might be prepared to use the country’s arsenal of chemical weapons in the repression of a 16-month uprising after reports his stocks were being moved around the country.

Makdissi’s comments come a day after the United States said it would ‘hold accountable’ any Syrian official involved in the release or use of the country’s chemical weapons.

Neighbouring Jordan’s King Abdullah II also said that in the event of a descent into all-out war, chemical weapons could fall into the hands of extremists, including certain rebel groups.

Israel also said on Sunday it was concerned chemical weapons might land in the hands of the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah.

But Makdissi said the government was concerned that foreign states might supply rebels with unconventional weapons.

He warned against ‘the possibility of foreign parties arming terrorist groups... with bacteriological weapons that might explode in a village, so that Syrian forces can then be blamed.’
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