* Syria UN envoy says country would not use chemical weapons
* Accuses US government of supporting "terrorists" in Syria
By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 17 Syria is "genuinely
worried" that some countries might equip extremist groups with
chemical weapons and then claim they were used by the Syrian
government, the country's U.N. envoy said in a letter to U.N.
chief Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council.
Syria's U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari also accused the
U.S. government of supporting "terrorists" in Syria and waging a
campaign that claims Syria could use chemical weapons in the
20-month-old civil war that has killed at least 40,000.
The United States says it is sending only humanitarian aid
and nonlethal assistance to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's
opponents, but acknowledges some allies are arming the rebels.
Assad's government accuses Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, the
United States and other Western governments of supporting and
arming the rebels, an allegation the governments deny.
"We have repeatedly stated publicly and through diplomatic
channels that Syria will not under any circumstances use any
chemical weapons that it may have, because it is defending its
people from terrorists backed by well-known states, at the
forefront of which is the United States of America," Ja'afari
"We are genuinely worried that certain states that support
terrorism and terrorists could provide the armed terrorist
groups with chemical weapons, and then claim they had been used
by the Syrian Government," he wrote in the letter to the
secretary-general which was dated Dec. 8 but made public on
Damascus has accused Western powers of backing what it says
is a Sunni Islamist "terrorist" campaign to topple Assad, a
member of the minority Alawite sect affiliated with Shi'ite
It has said that U.S. and European concerns about Assad's
forces possibly resorting to chemical weapons could serve as a
pretext for preparing military intervention. Western military
experts say Syria has four suspected chemical weapons sites, and
it can produce chemical weapons agents including mustard gas and
sarin, and possibly also VX nerve agent.
"States such as the United States of America that have used
chemical and similar weapons are in no position to launch such a
campaign, particularly because, in 2003, they used the pretext
of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction in order to justify
their invasion and occupation," Ja'afari wrote.
"Since the issue was raised, Syria has stated countless
times that it will not under any circumstances use any chemical
weapons that it may have against its own people," he said. "The
Government of the Syrian Arab Republic warns that the terrorist
groups could use those weapons against the Syrian people."
Ban expressed alarm on Sunday at the worsening violence in
Syria, including the reported mass killing of Alawites and
alleged firing of long-range missiles on Syrian territory, Ban's
The 15-member U.N. Security Council has been incapable of
taking any meaningful action in the conflict. Veto powers Russia
and China refuse to condemn Assad or support sanctions.