JERUSALEM (JTA) — Syria will not use chemical weapons against its own citizens or against Israel, a Syrian minister said.
"Even if Syria does have chemical weapons, our leadership and our military will not use them either against Syrians or against Israelis, above all for moral reasons and secondarily on legal and political grounds," Syria’s Information Minister Omran al-Zoabi said Wednesday during a visit to Moscow, according to an Interfax report cited by Reuters.
Zoabi was responding to an assertion made Tuesday by Brig. Gen Itai Baron, the head of the Israel Defense Forces Military Intelligence Research Branch, that Syrian forces have used chemical weapons against rebel forces and civilians.
Baron told a conference of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv that intelligence photos ed to the conclusion that chemical weapons had been used, Haaretz reported.
The photos were taken during two incidents near Damascus on March 19; Western intelligence officials have said they believe that Syria used chemical weapons in the incidents.