Russian FM: Moscow keeping tabs on Syrian chemical weapons
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Russian FM: Moscow keeping tabs on Syrian chemical weapons

Sergey Lavrov says Assad regime has consolidated arsenal to better protect it from rebels

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, center, and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov in Moscow in April 2012 (photo credit: AP)
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, center, and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov in Moscow in April 2012 (photo credit: AP)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s foreign minister says the Syrian government has consolidated its chemical weapons in one or two locations amid a rebel onslaught.

Sergey Lavrov says Russia, which has military advisers training Syria’s military, has kept close watch over its chemical arsenal. He says the Syrian government has moved them from many arsenals to just “one or two centers” to properly safeguard them.

US intelligence says the regime may be readying chemical weapons and could be desperate enough to use them. Both Israel and the US have also expressed concerns they could fall into militant hands if the regime crumbles.

Lavrov also told reporters on a flight from an EU summit late Friday that countries in the region had asked Russia to convey an offer of safe passage to President Bashar Assad.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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