The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said yesterday that he had not received any confirmed reports that Damascus was preparing to use chemical weapons, but that it would be an “outrageous crime” if it did so.
Several Western countries have this week warned President Bashar al-Assad not to resort to chemical weapons, with many citing intelligence that Washington said showed he might be preparing to use poison gas.
Damascus has said it would never use chemical weapons against its own people, saying the reports were designed to whip up support for international intervention in Syria. Mr Ban said that if such armaments were used "then it will be an outrageous crime in the name of humanity". He added: "I know that many world leaders have added their voices urging him not to use it and warning him that it will create huge consequences."
Mr Ban said he had also spoken with the head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons about ways to investigate the reports but no concrete plan had emerged.