UK: Syrian chemical arms use would need 'serious response'

ByREUTERS
March 19, 2013 15:16

Foreign Office responds to media reports regarding chemical weapons attack in Syria, saying use of weapons would demand a serious response from int'l community; Turkey rejects Syrian accusation as Assad's gov't deny usage.

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Residents move a Syrian Army soldier, wounded in apparent chemical weapon attack, March 19, 2013.

Syrian soldier injured in alleged chemical weapon attack 360. (photo credit:REUTERS/George Ourfalian)

LONDON - Britain said on Tuesday it was aware of media reports about a chemical weapons attack in Syria, adding that the use or proliferation of chemical weapons there would demand a serious response from the international community.

"The UK is clear that the use or proliferation of chemical weapons would demand a serious response from the international community and force us to revisit our approach so far," a Foreign Office spokeswoman said.

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Turkey, meanwhile, rejected an accusation from Syria on Tuesday that Turkey bore responsibility for a possible chemical attack in the northern province of Aleppo.

"This is a baseless accusation, the Syrian government has accused Turkey in the past as well," a Turkish government official told Reuters.

Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoabi said earlier that Turkey and Qatar, which have supported rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad, bore "legal, moral and political responsibility" for the attack, state television reported.

Syria's Information Minister Omran al-Zoabi said on Tuesday the country's armed forces would never use internationally banned weapons, after the government and rebels traded blame for what both sides said was a chemical weapon attack near Aleppo.

"Syria's army leadership has stressed this before and we say it again, if we had chemical weapons we would never use them due to moral, humanitarian and political reasons," Zoabi said in a televised news conference.

"Our armed forces absolutely could not use, not now, nor at any time, nor in the past, any weapon banned by international law."

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