Russia’s Foreign Minister has rubbished speculation that Syria could use chemical weapons against rebels and suggested that the risk of the reverse happening was far greater.
“I don’t believe Syria would use chemical weapons. It would be a political suicide for the government if it does,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in an interview released on Monday.
Mr. Lavrov told the TV channel RT that Moscow “double-checks” and “triple-checks” on every rumour or report about the movement of Syrian chemical weapons.
According to the information available to the Russian side, “which correlates with the information the Americans have”, Mr. Lavrov said, the Syrian government has been assembling all chemical weapons stocked in various locations at 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”, said Mr. Lavrov.
Mr. Lavrov made it clear that Western powers cannot have it both ways — secure the safety of Syrian chemical weapons and continue to arm the rebels.
He called it “a very strange logic” when the West pins full responsibility for the chemical arsenals on the Syrian government “even if the rebels capture them”, while providing the opposition with “arms, money and moral and political support” to carry on their fight.
In another attack on the West, Mr. Lavrov suggested the NATO’s Patriot missiles being deployed in Turkey, were not so much against Syria, but Iran.
“The configuration as it is being presented in the media really looks like [Patriots] could be used against Iran,” said the Russian Foreign Minister said.