The NATO alliance weighed in on the Syrian crisis Tuesday, warning the Bashar al-Assad regime about using chemical weapons and mulling a Turkish request for Patriot missiles to defend its borders.
NATO's secretary-general echoed warnings from U.S. President Barack Obama that the Syrian government may be toying with the idea of using chemical weapons to crush the 21-month rebellion.
"The Syrian stockpiles of chemical weapons are a matter of great concern," Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters.
"We know that Syria possesses missiles. We know they have chemical weapons and, of course, they also have to be included in our calculations. And this is also the reason why it is a matter of urgency to ensure effective defense and protection of our ally Turkey," he said.
"Let me add to this that 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."
The Syrian Foreign Ministry denied that the country has any plans to use chemical weapons, state TV has reported. The government likewise has repeatedly stressed it will not use such weapons, if they exist, against its people under any circumstances.
But U.S. officials say "worrying signs" suggest otherwise.FULL STORY