'Little' Can Be Done if Syria Green Lights Bombs

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- As fighting continues in Damascus, NBC News reported that the Syrian military has mixed chemical agents, which could be used against rebel forces.

Syria reportedly has the largest stockpile of chemical weapons in the Middle East and the missiles to deliver them to surrounding countries and bombs to drop them on its own people.

The report quoted U.S. officials saying "the army had loaded precursor chemicals for sarin, a deadly nerve gas, onto aerial bombs that could be dropped on the Syrian people from dozens of fighter bombers."

The report quoted the officials saying there is "little the outside world can do" if Syrian President Bashar Assad gives the green light to drop the bombs.

In an interview with Sky News, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisel Mekdad said he didn't know if his country had chemical weapons.

"As far as for the story of chemical weapons in Syria, we said different times on different occasions that even if we have them, even if we have them, we shall not use them against our people," Mekdad said.

"I said even if we have them -- we did not say we have chemical weapons -- we don't know if we have or not, but we are saying if we have them we shall not use them against our people," he added.

President Obama warned of consequences and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen of an "immediate reaction" from the international community should Assad use the weapons.

But experts in Israel said they don't believe Assad will use the chemicals against his people.

Syrian Expert Jonathan Spyer, from the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, said he believes the international community is most concerned about the possibility of the weapons falling into the "wrong hands" since there are al Qaeda elements among the insurgents.

For the last two years, Assad has been moving the chemical weapons about -- away from the fighting. But he's running out of places to go, Spyer told CBN News.

Middle East expert Eldad Pardo, at Hebrew University, said he believes Assad -- and maybe Iran (Assad's backer) too -- is sending a signal that he won't allow a "turning of the tables in the balance (of power) in this war."

Assad is worried about Western and other elements supplying anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to the rebels, as well as effectively establishing a de facto no-fly zone, Pardo told CBN News.

Meanwhile, there are reports of American forces already in Jordan ready to handle Syrian chemical weapon attacks if need be, said Pardo.

Still, Pardo said it's not clear if Assad would follow through on a "doomsday scenario" by using them.

Nevertheless, it wouldn't be the first time Middle East dictators have used chemical weapons. Iraq used them against the Iranians in the 1980s and against Kurdish Iraqis in 1991. Assad's father also used them against Muslim Brotherhood protestors in 1982.

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CBN News
Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl

CBN News Reporter

CBN News is a national/international, nonprofit news organization that provides programming by cable, satellite, and the Internet, 24-hours a day. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.