Clinton Warns Assad on Chemical Weapons, Syria Says it Won't Use themإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday issued a "strong warning" to the regime of Bashar Assad over the potential use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people.
"This is a red line for the United States," Clinton said after meeting Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg in Prague.
"Once again we issue a very strong warning to the Assad regime that their behavior is reprehensible. Their actions against their own people have been tragic," she added.
But she stressed that Washington would address any threat that arises.
"I'm not going to telegraph in any specifics what we would do in the event of credible evidence that the Assad regime has resorted to using chemical weapons against their own people, but sufficing to say that we're certainly planning to take action if that eventuality were to occur," the top U.S. diplomat stressed.
But a foreign ministry official said Syria will never use chemical weapons against its own people if such weapons exist.
"In response to the statements of the U.S. secretary of state, Syria confirms repeatedly that it will never, under any circumstances, use chemical weapons against its own people," state television quoted the official as saying.
Syria is believed to have several hundred ballistic surface-to-surface missiles capable of carrying chemical warheads.
Its arsenal is a particular threat to American allies Turkey and Israel.
President Barack Obama declared the Assad regime's deployment or use of chemical weapons a "red line" for U.S. intervention in the Syrian civil war earlier this year.