The Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad said on Monday that it would use its chemical and biological weapons if it was attacked.
Jihad Makdissi, the spokesman for Syria’s Foreign Ministry, said that the country would not use the unconventional arms against its own citizens. The announcement was the first acknowledgement that Damascus has weapons of mass destruction, Associated Press reports.
“No chemical or biological weapons will ever be used, and I repeat, will never be used, during the crisis in Syria no matter what the developments inside Syria,” Makdissi said, according to Associated Press. “All of these types of weapons are in storage and under security and the direct supervision of the Syrian armed forces and will never be used unless Syria is exposed to external aggression.”
The regime later tried to backtrack from the position of having chemical and biological weapons and blasted foreign media for focusing on the announcement of admitting it has chemical weapons.
“(The announcement was meant to) respond to a media campaign aimed at preparing international opinion for foreign intervention into Syria under the false pretext that it was going to use weapons of mass destruction inside the country,” the regime said, according to Associated Press.
Syria is thought to have mustard gas, nerve agents and Scud missiles that could deliver the lethal chemicals.
The announcement comes after a rise in activity at military installations thought to contain the chemical weapons material.