Syrian authorities are unlikely to use chemical weapons as it would be a ‘political suicide’ for them, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.
“I don’t believe Syria would use chemical weapons. It would be a political suicide for the government if it does,” he said in an interview with the RT television network.
The top Russian diplomat said that, according to information that Russia and the United States have, Syrians are moving chemical weapons stocks dispersed in various locations into two sites “to make sure that it is absolutely protected.”
“And it is also accepted by everyone including our Western colleagues [the Europeans and the Americans] that the biggest threat in this situation is the probability that the rebels might take hold of chemical weapons,” Lavrov said.
The Syrian authorities have repeatedly assured Moscow that they would not use chemical weapons against rebel forces.
Syria has not signed the international Chemical Weapons Convention and is believed to possess mustard gas and sarin, an extremely toxic nerve agent.
The CIA says Syria has had a chemical weapons program “for years” and that the weapons can be “delivered by aircraft, ballistic missile, and artillery rockets.” But Syria has never deployed the weapons, although it warned this summer that they could be used against “foreign invaders.”