With Israel Watching, Syria Says Won’t Use Chemical Weapons on Civilians

Photo Courtesy of UN-Photo/Marco Castro

The Syrian government addressed international warnings against using its chemical weapons stockpile by saying that even if the country possessed the weapons, they would not be used on the country’s civilians. According to Iran’s Press TV, Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi told reporters that the weapons of mass destruction would only be used against “external aggression.”

“Syria will not use any chemical or other unconventional weapons against its civilians, and will only use them in case of external aggression,” the Syrian spokesman was quoted as saying.

Despite the veiled threat, PressTV said Makdissi did not admit his country actually possessed the weapons.

Israel has expressed concerns that Syria’s chemical weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists, particularly if the Syrian regime falls in the current civil war and the country descends into chaos.

Speaking on “Fox News Sunday”, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would not rule out taking action against Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles if necessary.

“We certainly don’t want to be exposed to chemical weapons falling in the hands of Hezbollah or other terror groups, because that’s something we can’t be indifferent to,” said Netanyahu. “It’s a great threat. We’ll have to consider our action… Do I seek action? No. Do I preclude it? No.”

Netanuyahu made clear however that “we hope we don’t have to and we didn’t necessarily consider seizing those weapons. There are other possibilities.”

Despite that, the Israeli leader refused to dismiss the threat of chemical weapons reaching terrorists.

“I think this is a real problem. Can you imagine Hezbollah, the people who are conducting with Iran all these terror attacks around the world—can you imagine that they would have chemical weapons? It’s like al Qaeda having chemical weapons. It’s something that is not acceptable to us and not acceptable to the United States and to any peaceable country in the world.”

US Reissues Warning

Meanwhile, the United States again warned Syria not to use chemical weapons, while noting they believe the government to still be in control of the stockpiles.

Speaking to reporters, in comments posted on the White House website, Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “We are concerned about the disposition of chemical weapons in Syria, but we believe that they are under control of the Syrian government.

“We have made clear to the Syrian government that it is their responsibility to keep control of those weapons and that they will be held accountable, both collectively and individually, if those weapons were to fall out of their control or in any way be used. That remains our position.”

US Spokesperson Victoria Nuland was stronger in comments release by the State Department. She was quoted as saying, “I think we’ve been absolutely clear where we stand on this issue, which is that any possible use of these kinds of weapons would be completely unacceptable.”

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, July 23, 2012)