Russia warned Syria on Tuesday not to release its chemical and biological weapons if it is attacked by foreign nations.
Syria is Russia’s last ally in the Middle East and holds the country’s only naval base outside of the former Soviet Union. While Moscow told Damascus to stick to its international obligations, it gave no indication that it would abandon the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, ZeeNews.com reports.
Throughout the escalating civil war, Russia has protected Syria from international sanctions and has supplied the nation with weapons.
Syria released its first-ever acknowledgement that it has chemical and biological weapons on Monday.
Russia released a statement in response, reminding Syria that the country previously ratified a global convention banning chemical weapon use.
“(We expect Syria to) unfailingly honor its international obligations,” the statement said, according to ZeeNews.com.
While Russia has been critical of Syria, it has refused to support international calls for al Assad to step down. Russia and China vetoed a United Nations resolution on Thursday threatening al Assad’s regime with sanctions. A resolution was approved on Friday to renew a force of 300 people to act as a U.N. observer force in Syria for an additional 30 days.
The uprising in Syria has turned into a civil war that has killed more than 19,000 people. Russia said that foreign players should not get involved in the conflict and that it should be decided primarily by Syrians.
“If the Syrian leadership is ousted from power by unconstitutional means, the leadership and the opposition will trade places and the civil war will continue,” Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, said, according to ZeeNews.com.