Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday Israel is closely tracking developments relating to chemical weapons in Syria, whose regime has been warned against using them in the country’s uprising.
“Along with the international community, we are closely following developments in Syria related to its chemical weapons stockpiles,” Netanyahu said in a statement from his office.
U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday issued Syria’s embattled President Bashar al-Assad a blunt warning not to use chemical weapons against his own people, following U.S. warnings his forces were mixing deadly sarin gas.
“I heard President Obama’s important remarks on the subject and we see things the same way,” said Netanyahu. “We believe these weapons must not be used and must not fall into the hands of terrorist elements.”
Western powers on Tuesday warned there would be an immediate reaction to any use of chemical weapons as the NATO military alliance prepared to approve a Turkish request for Patriot missiles to protect its border with Syria.
Russia, the most powerful of the Assad regime’s allies, has dismissed fears of Damascus using chemical weapons and warned that deploying the missiles risked pouring more arms into the region.
Syria itself has insisted it would never such arms against its own people.
More than 41,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The conflict erupted in March 2011 with peaceful democracy protests before transforming into an armed insurgency when the government began a bloody crackdown.