Wednesday Dec 05, 201203:45 AM GMT
Russia rebuffs West’s claims on Syrian WMDs
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrives in Brussels on December 4, 2012.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrives in Brussels on December 4, 2012.
Russia has rejected the Western claims that Damascus might have plans to use chemical weapons against foreign-backed militants in Syria.


The West is aware that its claims about the Syrian chemical weapons do not stand up to scrutiny, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a ministerial meeting of 28 NATO countries in Brussels on Tuesday, The Independent reported.

Lavrov stated that “as soon as we get these rumors [about chemical weapons] we engage in constructive demarche; when we get confirmation that nothing of that type is happening we share this information with our American colleagues.”

On Monday, US President Barack Obama claimed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad intends to use chemical weapons against the militants.

There would be consequences if Assad were to use these weapons, Obama said.

"The use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable and if you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons there will be consequences and you will be held accountable," he stated.

Syrian officials have dismissed the allegations that they intend to use chemical weapons to end the crisis, saying that Syria will never use weapons of mass destruction against its own people.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Russia foreign minister said there had been an exaggeration of the threat faced by Ankara to justify NATO’s deployment of advanced Patriot missiles in Turkey along the Syrian border.

Lavrov added that any deployment of Patriot missiles by Turkey “is creating the risk that these arms will be used.”

On November 21, Turkey formally asked its NATO partners to deploy the surface-to-air Patriot missiles to defend its border with Syria.

On Tuesday, NATO agreed to send Patriot missiles to Turkey.

"To the Turkish people we say: We are determined to defend you and your territory. To anyone who would want to attack Turkey we say: Don't even think about it," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said after the Western alliance made the decision in Brussels.

The Syria crisis began in March 2011.

The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.

Militant groups, supported by certain Western states and their regional allies, such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, have been trying to topple the Syrian government for over 20 months.

Several international human rights organizations have accused the foreign-sponsored insurgents of committing war crimes.

GJH/HGL
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