Jordan preparing for chemical attack from Syria

Nasser Judeh

Nasser Judeh, Jordan’s foreign minister, said on Tuesday that the country was preparing for the possibility of chemical weapon use in nearby Syria.

The mobilization by the neighboring country raises concern that Syria’s recently moved chemical weapons could be put to use. Syria started to move its chemical weapons out of storage facilities earlier in the week, though the reason for the move is unclear, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Judeh said that the issue of chemical weapons is of extreme importance to Jordan. He said that the country has taken all needed measures to confront the possibility of chemical warfare, though he did not mention specific measures taken, Associated Press reports.

Nawaf Fares, Syria’s ex-ambassador to Iraq, said on Monday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would consider using chemical weapons if he thought they were needed to end the armed insurrection. The Syrian conflict has led to an estimated 17,000 deaths, according to BBC.

Relations between Jordan and Syria have never been strong, but the Syrian unrest has led to a further breakdown in relations. Since the start of the unrest in March 2011, floods of Syrian refugees have spilled into neighboring Jordan. The country has taken in approximately 27,000 Syrian asylum seekers, Human Rights Watch reports.

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