BRUSSELS Dec 4 Any use of chemical weapons by
Syria's government would prompt an immediate international
response, NATO's chief warned on Tuesday, saying the chemical
threat made it urgent for the alliance to send Patriot missiles
International concern over Syria's intentions has been
heightened by media reports that its chemical weapons have been
moved and could be prepared for use in response to dramatic
gains by rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad.
"The Syrian stockpiles of chemical weapons are a matter of
great concern. We know that Syria possesses missiles, we know
they have chemical weapons and of course that also has to be
included in our calculations," NATO Secretary-General Anders
Fogh Rasmussen told reporters at the start of a meeting of
alliance foreign ministers in Brussels.
"This is also the reason why it's a matter of urgency to
ensure effective defence and protection of our ally Turkey," he
"The possible use of chemical weapons would be completely
unacceptable for the whole international community and if
anybody resorts to these terrible weapons I would expect an
immediate reaction from the international community," he said.
Rasmussen was echoing U.S. warnings that any attempt by the
Syrian government to use chemical weapons against the rebels
would be a "red line" that would prompt U.S. action. Syria said
on Monday that it would not use chemical weapons against its own