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Syria defiantly responses to West, Arab remarks


08:23, July 24, 2012

DAMASCUS, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Despite the tricky security situation on ground with urban fights raging on between armed opposition and government troops in key cities, the Syrian administration on Monday responded defiantly to the West and the Arabs alike, saying it would use its chemical arsenal only in case of foreign aggression and slamming as "flagrant interference" the Arab League calls for President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

Urban fights have started in the capital Damascus last week and recently jumped to the northern province of Aleppo, as part of the armed rebels' escalation in both key cities of the country in a bid to erode the tight grip of the Syrian regime on those cities.

Hundreds have been reported killed or rendered homeless by the ongoing clashes.

The escalation of violence and reports of foreign fighters infiltrating the country with affiliation to extremist groups, mainly al-Qaida, have stoked fears among the U.S. and its main ally Israel in the region about the destiny of the Syrian chemical arsenal if the Damascus regime is toppled.

The U.S. and Israel have expressed fears about the possibility that the chemical weapons might end up in the hands of al-Qaida or the Lebanese Hezbollah.

Media reports further claimed that Israel is preparing a plan to militarily intervene to destroy those warheads before they fall in the wrong hands.

The New York Times has recently said that "the Obama administration has for now abandoned efforts for a diplomatic settlement to the conflict in Syria, and instead it is increasing aid to the rebels and redoubling efforts to rally a coalition of like-minded countries to forcibly bring down the government of President Bashar al-Assad."

The paper said that "U.S. administration officials have been in talks with officials in Turkey and Israel over how to manage a Syrian government collapse."

"White House is now holding daily high-level meetings to discuss a broad range of contingency plans including Syria's vast chemical weapons arsenal," the report said, adding that "the administration has had regular talks with the Israelis about how Israel might move to destroy Syrian weapons facilities."

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