Syria Says Will Use Chemical Weapons Only Against Foreign Attack

Syria will not use chemical or other unconventional weapons except in the case of a foreign attack, foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said on Monday.

"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 President Bashar Assad's regime might be prepared to use the country's arsenal of chemical weapons in the repression of a 16-month insurgency after reports his stocks were being moved around the country.

Makdissi also said Syria rejects a call by the Arab League for Assad to give up power.

"We are sorry that the Arab League has descended to this level concerning a member state of this institution," he said. "This decision only concerns the Syrian people, who are the sole masters of fate of their governments."

"If the Arab nations who met in Doha were honest about wanting to stop the bloodshed they would have stopped supplying arms... they would stop their instigation and propaganda," he said. "All their statements are hypocritical."

The Arab League on Monday called on Assad to swiftly step aside in order to end the fighting that has swept across the country.

"There is agreement on the need for the rapid resignation of President Bashar Assad," Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani told journalists at the end of the ministerial meeting in Doha.

The Arab League also urged the rebel Free Syrian Army to form a transitional government of national unity.

"We call on the opposition and the Free Syrian Army to form a government of national unity," Sheikh Hamad said as he delivered the results of the Arab League meeting.

He urged Assad to take the "courageous" decision in order to save his country where fierce fighting continued to rage between government troops and rebels.

Syria also vowed to regain control of several border posts that rebel forces seized along the frontier with Iraq and Turkey within days.

The rebels "will not hold onto them and they will be gone in a few days," Makdissi told the news conference.

Source: Agence France Presse

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