Jordan warns Syria on chemical weapons

Dec. 4, 2012 at 6:00 AM
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AMMAN, Jordan, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh warned Tuesday the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime would be a "game changer."

"The regime knows that the international community will simply not accept for these weapons to be used in different scenarios: whether they are used by the regime against their own people or used against neighboring countries or fall into the wrong hands," Jordanian media outlets quoted Judeh saying.

The comments came a day after Israeli and Jordanian intelligence officials told The Atlantic that Jordan rejected Israeli requests to bomb Syrian chemical weapons sites. The report published Monday said Amman turned down a number of requests in the past two months, saying "the time was not right."

The Israeli requests were communicated through Mossad intermediaries dispatched by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office, the magazine said.

While Israel has the ability to attack the sites without Jordan's approval, Jerusalem is concerned of the possible repercussions of such an attack on Jordan, The Atlantic said.

"A number of sites are not far from the border," an unnamed official said. "The Jordanians have to be very careful about provoking the regime and they assume the Syrians would suspect Jordanian complicity in an Israeli attack."

The Atlantic report stated intelligence sources reported Israeli and U.S. drones are monitoring Syrian weapons sites and Israeli drones are in the skies over the Jordan-Syria border.

There was no official Israeli comment on the report but a source said Israel has been "talking with relevant parties" about the Syrian chemical weapons issue, The Jerusalem Post said.

The same source said Israel is concerned about the possible transfer of Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons, said to be the third largest in the world, to "unsavory actors" such as Hezbollah or al-Qaida, the Post said.

If this occurs the source said Israel "reserves the right to pre-empt."

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