Syrian government denies possession of chemical weapons

Damascus: Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad on Saturday denied his government’s possession of chemical weapons or chlorine gas.

The foreign ministry renewed the government’s stance regarding the recent accusations against Damascus of using chlorine gas in the battles against the rebels in the Eastern Ghouta countryside of Damascus, Xinhua reported.

“We completely deny any presence of chemical weapons including the chlorine gas and we condemn any use of such weapons. We think that there is no reason for any country in the world to threaten Syria as some have done or to use their weapons to target Syria,” he said.

Mekdad warned against the possible move by foreign powers such as the US and Britain to carry out military actions against Syria over the use of chemical weapons.

He also said that the rebels have been staging chemical attacks to frame the Syrian government, adding that intelligence information indicated that the rebels were planning a new chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta soon.

“We suggest everyone not to take any risk of military actions because the international situation is incapable of handling such aggressive practices at a time we look forward to seeing peace prevailing all over the world,” he added.

In January, activists claimed the Syrian forces used chlorine in an attack on the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta, causing 21 people to suffer from breathing difficulties.

Last April, the US struck a military base in central Syria with more than 50 Tomahawk missiles, in retaliation to an alleged chemical attack by Syrian government forces on a rebel-held town in the northwestern province of Idlib.

The Syrian government denied the accusations, saying it is the rebels who mounted the attack to frame the government and draw in a military action from the US.