BEIRUT - Syria said on Monday it could use chemical weapons in response
to any "external aggression" but they would not be used in Syrian
President Bashar Assad's campaign to crush a 16-month-old uprising
against his rule.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said any chemical or bacterial weapons were securely stored by the armed forces.
ministry wants to re-affirm the stance of the Syrian Arab Republic that
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," Makdissi said.
"These weapons are stored and
secured by Syrian military forces and under its direct supervision and
will never be used unless Syria faces external aggression."
appeared to be the first time that Syria acknowledged it might possess
non-conventional weapons. Damascus is not a signatory to the 1992
Chemical Weapons Convention that bans their use, production or
Makdissi raised the possibility that "terrorists
groups" might be supplied with biological weapons by outside powers
which "could be used in one of the villages - God forbid - and then they
would accuse the Syrian forces".
He also said the security
situation in Damascus, where Assad's forces have been battling rebels
for more than a week, was improving and would return to normal within
He condemned calls for Assad to step down at a meeting of
Arab foreign ministers in Qatar over the weekend, calling it a "flagrant
intervention" in Syria's internal affairs.