Syrians fear embattled President Bashar Assad is planning to attack civilian opponents and armed rebels alike with chemical and biological weapons, human rights activists said Monday, July 23, after Syria declared for the first time that its army has weapons of mass destruction, The Washington Times
reported. “The whole population of Syria is afraid,” said Damascus-based activist Sami Ibrahim of the Syrian Network for Human Rights. In the first acknowledgment of such weapons, the Syrian regime said Monday it would be prepared to use them against foreign attackers, but insisted it would not use them against its own people. The statement from Syria’s Foreign Ministry raised questions about the regime’s definition of “external aggression” as it continues to blame foreign extremists and terrorists for the rebellion, which has spread across the country over the past 17 months.