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Syria (Q&A - Excerpt from the daily press briefing - 4 december, 2012)

Q : The Americans are talking about the Syrian regime’s preparations with respect to producing sarin gas, probably with the intention of using it. Do you have any independent information to confirm what your American partners are saying?

A : We’re aware of the information that has been circulated about possible movements on military bases storing chemical weapons in Syria.

We’ve been monitoring the situation in close collaboration with our partners since the start of this crisis.

Our message remains the same today. Any use of these chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad or the leaders under his orders would be unacceptable. We’re working in close coordination with our partners in order to prevent any use of these weapons, should either the regime or any others be tempted to use them.

The leaders in Damascus should be aware that the international community is watching them and that it will not stand idly by if they were to use these weapons.

Q : The Jordanian foreign minister stated yesterday that if this information were true, then it could change matters and lead to an international intervention. Do you share the same analysis since I remember that you talked about consequences before? Is that still your position?

A : That’s what I said; the leaders in Damascus should be aware that the international community is watching them and that it will not stand idly by if they were to use these weapons.

Do you have any information regarding the fact that Syrian foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi may have left the country and do you know where he’s going? England perhaps, or even France? Did France help him to leave?

There are reports that Syrian foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi has resigned his position and left the Syrian territory. Should this information be confirmed, it would be a further sign of the declining legitimacy of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

A significant number of high-level military and political leaders have already defected.

We encourage the Syrian security, political, economic, and administrative leaders to break ties with the regime and to join the Syrian National Coalition, which is the only legitimate representative of the Syrian people.


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