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.
Rebels who declared independence from the Tripoli government have started exporting oil.
The Brotherhood asserted that it adheres to moderate Islamic teachings without "extremism or radicalism," citing previous remarks by Saudi clerics and officials praising the decades-old Islamist group.
Paramilitary rangers confessed to firing on Muslim man and his family, but local villagers remain sceptical of police explanation.
India recently charged 67 Kashmiri students with sedition for cheering for the Pakistani national cricket team.
If the report is confirmed, it would mark the U.S.-built airliner's deadliest crash since entering service 19 years ago.
Abdullah al-Bashir has officially been confirmed as the new replacement for ousted commander Salim Idriss.
Russian forces in uniforms with no markings have surrounded Ukrainian bases in the occupied peninsula since they seized it last week, and the region's Russian separatist leadership has ordered the Ukrainians to surrender.
Yulia Tymoshenko arrives in Germany following a European People's Party meeting in Dublin.
Kosovo’s ambassador in Ankara, Avni Spahiu, said that the Balkan situation had entered the agenda after Russian president Vladimir Putin drew attention to the Balkan state's case in comments about Crimea’s future.
According to the UN, the number of Muslims in Bangui has gone down from 145,000 to 900.
Late on Monday, armed men broke into the Johannesburg home of former Rwandan army chief General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, an exiled critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
Oil pipelines and the power infrastructure are often bombed by rebels or disgruntled tribesmen.
The March 5-7 talks at the United Nations complex in Vienna, which ended around midday on Friday, were to prepare for the next meeting of chief negotiators due to start on March 18, also in the Austrian capital.
"It is clear that some of the settlements, some of them, will not be included in the agreement. That's clear. Everyone understands that. I will ensure the number will be as small as possible, as far as is possible, if we get there," Israeli PM Netanyahu said.
"The Korean peninsula is right on China's doorstep. We have a red line, that is, we will not allow war or instability on the Korean peninsula," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters on the sidelines of China's annual largely rubber-stamp parliament.
China has promised to help Afghanistan fight 'terrorism', where it is believed that Taliban fighters may be helping Muslim Uighur separatists.