JERUSALEM — Syrian President Bashar Assad said Israel should be required to get rid of its weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons.
“If we want stability in the Middle East, all countries should adhere to agreements and the first country to adhere to the agreements should be Israel because Israel has nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and all types of weapons of mass destruction,” Assad said Sept. 12 in an interview with Rossiya 24, a Russian state-run television network.
“When we proposed a project to liquidate stores of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, the US impeded the project. One of the reasons was to allow Israel to have such weapons,” Assad asserted in the interview.
Read related IJN editorial, "Assad wants Israel to destroy its WMD"
Assad also said during the interview that the Syrian rebels may use chemical weapons against Israel as a provocation, a rumor that has been circulating in the Russian media, according to the Russian news service Interfax.
“Everyone knows that these terrorist gangs and those who run them are trying to incite an attack by the US. They previously tried to involve Israel in the conflict in Syria,” Assad said.
Assad told Rossiya 24 that Syria has agreed to put its chemical weapons stockpile under international control in deference to Russia and not because of the threat of a military strike by the US.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry say they have reached an agreement on the Russian proposal for Syria to place its chemical weapons under international control.
The plan was initiated to avoid an American military strike on Syria in retaliation for a chemical gas attack on Syrian citizens by the Syrian military Aug. 21, which left more than 1,000 civilians, including hundreds of children, dead.