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(Reuters) - Western states expressed alarm after Syria acknowledged for the first time that it has chemical and biological weapons and said it could use them if foreign countries intervene.
Defying Arab foreign ministers who on Sunday offered Assad a "safe exit" if he stepped down, the Syrian leader has launched fierce counter-offensives, reflecting his determination to keep power as the uprising enters its most violent phase.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said the army would not use chemical weapons to crush rebels but could use them against forces from outside the country.
"Any chemical or bacterial weapons 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."
The Global Security website, which collects published intelligence reports and other data, says there are four suspected chemical weapons sites in Syria: north of Damascus, near Homs, in Hama and near the Mediterranean port of Latakia. Weapons it produces include the nerve agents VX, sarin and tabun, it said, without citing its sources
"Given the regime's stockpiles of chemical weapons, we will continue to make it clear to Assad and those around him that the world is watching and that they will be held accountable by the international community and the United States should they make the tragic mistake of using those weapons," U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday
Western countries and Israel have expressed fears chemical weapons could fall into the hands of militant groups as Assad's authority erodes. Israel has publicly discussed military action to prevent Syrian chemical weapons or missiles from reaching Assad's Lebanese Shi'ite militant allies Hezbollah.
Originally posted by benrl
I have to say thats an extremely stupid move...
Either hes desperate or its a propaganda piece.
I just can't see why he would announce this...
especially since we invaded Iraq on the threat of these types of weapons.
Weapons of mass casualty, I always get annoyed they use WMD when ever they talk about chemicals...edit on 23-7-2012 by benrl because: (no reason given)