Saturday 29 September 2012

Syria repeats threat to use chemical weapons

Image of the Kornet missile set up on its tripod
Says it might also deliver Kornet missiles to all Kurds to fight Turkey 

Syria has again made clear it would use its deadly chemical and biological weapons if it were attacked by outside Arab, Turkish or Western forces.
Damascus is also serving notice it would provide a Russian-made Kornet anti-tank guided missile to every Turkish and Syrian Kurd to fight Turkey in case it openly intervened militarily in Syria.
Hezbollah, which is Syria and Iran’s cat’s-paw in Lebanon, relayed the double-barreled Syrian forewarning on its Al-Manar portal this morning.
The new caution follows Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s revelation in his interview with U.S. journalist Charles Rose broadcast on Thursday that Moscow helped broker American-Syrian contacts on security issues related to Damascus’ chemical and biological stockpiles.
“I hope that I disclose no big secret by saying that we [Russians] were helping American experts to come into contact with Syrians on this issue, and that we got explanations and assurances that the Syrian government safeguards these facilities with chemical weapons in the best way,” Lavrov said in the interview.
Syrians have moved some of their chemical weapons capability to better secure it, but the country’s main chemical weapons sites remain intact and secure under government control, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the day after, citing U.S. intelligence. 

“There has been some intelligence that with regards to some of these sites that there has been some movement in order for the Syrians to better secure ... the chemicals,” Panetta told a Pentagon news conference with his Canadian counterpart, according to Reuters. “So while there’s been some limited movement, again the major sites still remain in place, still remain secure.”
“We still believe, based on what we know and what we’re monitoring, that the principal sites remain secure,” he said.

Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile is the largest in the Middle East, but its precise scope remains unclear, according to analysts.

The regime said in July it might use its chemical weapons if attacked by outside countries, although not against its own people.

Here is how Hezbollah relayed this morning the Syrian regime’s warning:
“The U.S. delegation to the 67th session of the UN General Assembly sought to contact the Syrian delegation through Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Arab sources in France told al-Manar the United States wanted to discuss the weapons of mass destruction in Syria’s possession.
“According to the sources, the Syrians gave assurances, endorsed by Russia, that chemical and biological weapons won’t be used under any circumstances in Syria in the course of the ongoing fighting between the Syrian state and the armed opposition, which is backed by the United States directly and through its Arab and Turkish allies in the region.
“The Arab sources said the Syrian delegation reiterated the weapons in question are secure and safe and won’t be used except if Syria faced outside military intervention. Only in such a case would the countries inciting and participating in any kind of aggression against Damascus become a legitimate target for Syrian missiles with chemical and biological warheads, including unspecified countries neighboring Syria.
“The Arab sources said Turkey and Israel were in the gunsight of unconventional Syrian missiles in the event the Syrian Arab Republic confronted outside military intervention as proposed by Qatar’s Emir at the United Nations and backed up as expected by Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby.
“In the same context, Syrian Kurdish sources close to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its Syrian offshoot, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), said Syria notified Turkey of the following: any Turkish meddling in Syria -- now at the stage of direct military intervention across the border and in Idlib -- will push Syria to arm every Kurd in Turkey and Syria with a missile. The Kurdish source said Syria is seriously tending to provide the Kurds with heavy and advanced weapons, such as Kornet missiles the Kurds need for their war against Turkey. Delivering such military hardware to the PKK would change the face of the conflict in the Qandil Mountains.”