Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has insisted there is no sense in the Syrian regime using chemical weapons against the rebels, an accusation thrown at the leadership by the international community.
"The government, as the opposition is saying openly, is
enjoying military success on the ground," Lavrov indicated to
reporters during a joint press conference with his Italian
counterpart Emma Bonino.
"The regime isn’t driven to the wall. What sense is there for
the regime to use chemical arms – especially in such small
amounts?" Lavrov asked adding that the data provided by the
US showed that 100 to 150 people suffered from the alleged
Lavrov underlined that any rumors of chemical weapons deployment
concern Russia, and Moscow always seeks to check and
On June 13, the US stated it assessed that chemical weapons, most
likely the nerve gas sarin, were used in battle against the
Syrian rebels. The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed Friday the assessment results had
been handed over to them, but it found them “fabricated” and
Following the chemical weapons statement the US decided to
directly arm the rebels "to strengthen their
effectiveness," the White House said. The new aid will be
"military" in nature, but was not detailed.
Commenting on that on Saturday, Lavrov pointed out it would be
wrong for the US administration "to be sending wrong
signals" to the opposition and “focus them on escalating
the fight instead of starting a dialogue.”
US diplomats have also told media that Washington is now
considering a no-fly zone “to help Assad's
opponents.” The speculation was fuelled by the US earlier
reportedly sanctioning their F-16 fighter jets and Patriot
anti-missile system to stay in Jordan past the expiration of the
12-day Eager Lion exercise currently underway.
Lavrov stressed that any attempt to enforce a no-fly zone over
Syria using the F-16s and Patriots from neighboring Jordan would
break international law.
"There have been leaks from Western media regarding the
serious consideration to create a no-fly zone over Syria through
the deployment of Patriot anti-aircraft missiles and F-16 jets in
Jordan," Lavrov said.
"You don't have to be a great expert to understand that this
will violate international law," he noted.
Jordanian officials confirmed earlier this month that the US
would be deploying the weaponry during the exercises,
but a source speaking to AFP now says those items will stay
The latest rhetoric comes ahead of the so-called Geneva 2 talks
aimed at getting the two warring sides at the negotiating table
for the first time.
The Syrian civil conflict has lasted for over two years, and left
over 80,000 people dead, according to UN estimates.