The use of chemical weapons would be a “political suicide” for the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, said the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in an interview released Monday by the channel Russia Today.
“I do not think that Syria would use chemical weapons. If this is the case, it will be a political suicide of the government,” said the chief diplomat. “Whenever we come to rumors or information indicating that the Syrians make use of chemical weapons, we check two or three times, we turn to the government, and every time we are assured that they will never use themt under any circumstances, “he added.
Moscow remains one of the last supporters of the Syrian regime and continues to be one of its first weapon providers. According to experts, Syria has a stockpile of chemical weapons dating back to the 1970s and is one of the largest in the Middle East, with hundreds of tons.
The international community has stepped in early warnings to Damascus against the use of these chemical weapons, after U.S. officials had warned that preparations were underway. In October, the Secretary General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen warned that the use of chemical weapons by Syria would provide “immediate reaction” of the international community.
A U.S. official said that Damascus was trying to mix the components needed for the militarization of sarin, a potent neurotoxin that causes paralysis and death. “A possible use of chemical weapons would be totally unacceptable to the international community. I expect an immediate response from the international community” if this was the case, said Mr Rasmussen before a meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Brussels.
The Syrian regime was recognized for the first time in late July to possess chemical weapons and threatened to use them if there is a western military intervention, but never against its own population.
With China, Russia blocking the draft resolutions of the UN Security Council condemning President Bashar al-Assad and opening the door to sanctions or the use of force.
“Our priority is not the head of anyone, it is the end of violence and bloodshed. (…). Assad’s fate to be decided by the Syrian people, and not by outside parties and part of the Syrian opposition, “Lavrov reiterated Monday.