Syrian minister says gov’t will not use chemical weapons on rebels

Syria will only use its chemical weapons on threats from outside of the country, Syria’s Foreign Ministry said.

Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said Monday that the country’s chemical weapons are being guarded by the military, and that they would not be used against the rebels, nor could they fall into the wrong hands, according to reports.

Makdissi’s news conference was carried live on Syrian state television.

U.S. Pentagon officials discussed during meetings last week with Israeli defense officials whether Israel could destroy Syrian chemical weapons facilities in the event of the collapse of the Syrian government, The New York Times reported

During a briefing on the Golan Heights late last week, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that Israel is concerned about chemical weapons scattered throughout Syria falling into the wrong hands, and said that Israel is monitoring that possibility.

“We obviously are not the only player in the region that is anxious; anxious about the fact that an anarchic situation will bring about the transfer of sensitive systems into the wrong hands,” Barak said. “There is no small amount of chemical weapons dispersed all around the country, and there is a lot of weaponry in the hands of the civilians.”