Syria admits to having biological weapons

Syria has announced that it has biological weapons after months of speculation, but said that it would never use the weapons against its own citizens.

Damascus made the announcement as the country faces a fierce rebellion that has left at least 19,000 people dead, and resulted in international isolation and threats by nearby Israel to invade to prevent weapons of mass destruction from ending up in terrorist hands, the Belfast Telegraph reports.

The country's decision to reveal the existence of chemical and biological weapons suggests that the regime is shaken by recent victories by a strong rebellion. In the past week, a bomb attack killed four high-level security officials, sustained offensives occurred on strongholds at Aleppo and Damascus, and several border crossings have been captured.

While Syrian militia have reclaimed parts of Damascus once held by rebels, rebel assaults have continued in Aleppo, the country's largest city. The Brigade of Unification, a newly formed alliance of opposition forces, has launched an operation to take over the city of three million residents.

The Arab League has offered Assad and his family a safe exit if he has to step down.

"This request comes from all the...Arab states: Step aside," Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, the Qatari prime minister, said, according to the Belfast Telegraph.