Russia recently warned Syria not to use its arsenal of chemical weapons, saying it is obligated to follow a 1925 international protocol that bans the use of poisonous gasses in warfare.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Damascus ratified the 1925 treaty in 1968. Syria is not a signatory to the 1992 Chemical Weapons Convention, which is the major international treaty outlawing the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons, according to Reuters.
At the time that the CWC was drafted, Damascus claimed not to possess a chemical weapons program. Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi recently confirmed the program’s existence when he threatened that the al Assad regime would use chemical weapons against any foreign military intervention in the county’s ongoing civil war.
“The Russian side proceeds from the assumption that Syrian authorities will continue to strictly adhere to the undertaken international obligations,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, the Jerusalem Post reports.
Despite warning, Moscow shows no sign of altering its support for Assad, even as Western governments continue to push for his ouster.
“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,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said, Time reports.