World Bulletin / News Desk
Syria said on Monday it could use chemical weapons in response to any "external aggression" but they would not be used in President Bashar al-Assad's campaign to crush a 16-month-old uprising against his rule.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said any chemical or bacterial weapons were securely stored by the armed forces.
"The ministry wants to re-affirm the stance of the Syrian Arab Republic that any chemical or bacterial weapon will never be used - and I repeat will never be used - during the crisis in Syria regardless of the developments," Makdissi said.
"These weapons are stored and secured by Syrian military forces and under its direct supervision and will never be used unless Syria faces external aggression."
It appeared to be the first time that Syria acknowledged it might possess non-conventional weapons. Damascus is not a signatory to the 1992 Chemical Weapons Convention that bans their use, production or stockpiling.
Makdissi raised the possibility that "terrorists groups" might be supplied with biological weapons by outside powers which "could be used in one of the villages - God forbid - and then they would accuse the Syrian forces".
He also said the security situation in Damascus, where Assad's forces have been battling rebels for more than a week, was improving and would return to normal within days.
He condemned calls for Assad to step down at a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Qatar over the weekend, calling it a "flagrant intervention" in Syria's internal affairs.
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The bodies are believed to belong to the victims of a massacre carried out by right-wing Jewish militias in the former Arab district in 1948.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov sa'd "Only Ukraine can reach an agreement with Novorossiya, taking into account the interests of Novorossiya, and this is the only way to reach political settlement."
Iceland's largest volcanic system, which cuts a 190 km long and up to 25 km wide (118 miles by 15.5 miles) swathe across the North Atlantic island, has been hit by thousands of earthquakes over the last two weeks and scientists have been on high alert.
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President Barack Obama authorized the new military action, broadening U.S. operations in Iraq amid an international outcry over the threat to Amerli's mostly ethnic Turkmen population.
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Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Sabah, whose country has tried to mediate in the dispute, said Saturday's meeting had led to limited progress.
Media reported that two police officers had suffered minor injuries in clashes with counter demonstators.