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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

U.S. Fears for Safety of Syrian Chemical Weapons Stockpiles

RIA Novosti

06:50 23/08/2012 WASHINGTON, August 23 (RIA Novosti) - The United States is concerned with the issue of safety of chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria and views it as one of the areas of importance in dealing with the conflict-hit country, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said.

Speaking to journalists in Washington, Panetta said that one of the serious concerns is the “whole threat of chemical and biological weapons. There are sites in Syria. We're concerned about the security of those sites.”

“So we're continuing to monitor those sites and work with Turkey, as well as Jordan and Israel to ensure that none of those weapons fall into the wrong hands,” he added.

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday Syria’s chemical weapons would be a “red line” that would change Washington’s stance on a foreign military intervention into the Syrian conflict.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry said in late July that Syria may use chemical weapons against external aggression as the West pushes for a possible military intervention in the country torn by violent clashes between troops loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad and opposition forces.

The Syrian stockpiles of chemical weapons are believed to consist mostly of large amounts of Sarin, in addition to tabun (nerve agents) and mustard gas, and the country is reportedly producing and preparing VX for weapons.

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