Assad will use chemical weapons: Top defector

By AFP
Published: July 17, 2012

Syria has a large stock of chemical weapons which are a cause of concern for neighbouring countries. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will use chemical weapons against opposition forces and may have already deployed them, Nawaf Fares, the first Syrian ambassador to defect, told the BBC on Monday.

Fares, the most prominent politician to defect since the uprising against Assad began, insisted that the president’s days were numbered but warned he would be prepared “to eradicate the entire Syrian people” to remain in power.

When asked by the BBC’s Frank Gardner whether that would mean the use of chemical weapons, Fares said: “I am convinced that if Bashar al-Assad’s regime is further cornered by the people — he would use such weapons.”

“There is information, unconfirmed information, that chemical weapons have been used in Homs,” the former ambassador to Iraq added.

Syria has a large stock of chemical weapons and neighbouring countries are increasingly concerned about what will happen to them if the regime topples.

Fares said this outcome was now “inevitable”.

“It is absolutely sure that this government will fall in a short time,” he told the BBC from his refuge in Qatar. “We wish for this time to be short so that more sacrifices are reduced.”

Fares, who announced his defection on July 11, was widely seen as a regime hardliner and his decision to break ranks has triggered suspicion among activists.

Some dissidents say Fares has been likely groomed by the West to play a role in a transitional government while others have spoken about his “criminal” past.

Fares, who has served as governor in several Syrian provinces and has held senior security and Baath party posts, hails from the prominent Oqaydat Sunni tribe in eastern Syria, which also has members in Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

A former policeman, Fares had close ties to the dreaded intelligence services before becoming governor and later Syria’s first ambassador to Iraq following a 30-year rupture in ties between the two neighbours.

Syria’s military deployed armoured vehicles near central Damascus on Monday as troops battled rebels around the capital in what activists said could be a turning point in the 16-month uprising.

Fares said the spread of violence to the capital proved that the “expansion and the power of the revolution was increasing day-by-day.”

Reader Comments (3)

  • Jul 17, 2012 - 12:55PM

    Why is peace very difficut 2 embrace in d world? Can dis b end time?

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  • j. von hettlingen
    Jul 17, 2012 - 5:22PM

    It will come as no surprise that Assad would use chemical weapons to win the endgame. Yet he will not get away from impunity. If “the entire Syrian people” were wiped out, so that he could stay in power, the rest of the world will see no more obstacle to eradicate Assad.

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  • jas
    Jul 17, 2012 - 10:48PM

    Assad would not use chemical weapons to eradicate his own country especially when he has a very good following in his own country whether you believe it or not. the western media is nothing but bias propaganda. The rebels are nothing more than hired terrorists and Saudi Arabia should be ashamed of even offering to pay them.

    Saudi Arabia are a murderous regime who are very similar to Iran. Why don’t we sanction Saudi Arabia for crimes against humanity also? Simply because the are a western ally, they will not be touched. The hypocricy when it comes to the west is beyond belief. One minute terrorists are bad, the next because they are in a country that resists them, they are the good guys. People need to wake up because yous are being played for fools and will continue to be until the fireworks begin.

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