Syria: Jordan king warns on Qaeda, chemical weapons

Syria is spinning out of control and in a worst case scenario the Al-Qaeda militant group could get its hands on some of the regime's chemical weapons, Jordan's King Abdullah said Wednesday.

"Our information is that there is a presence of Al-Qaeda in certain regions inside Syria, and has been there for a while," he told CNN.

"And, again, one of the worst case scenarios as we are obviously trying to look for a political solution would be if some of those chemical stockpiles were to fall into unfriendly hands," he warned.

King Abdullah opposes international military action in Syria, but he said that if Syria's Bashar al-Assad were to make the "tremendous miscalculation" of turning chemical weapons on his own population there could be a response.

And he said that if such weapons were to fall into the hands of rebel forces -- some of which he said are unknown quantities -- then even reluctant UN members like Russia might support some kind of international action.

But he said he remains reluctant to arm the Syrian opposition.

"As it comes to chemical weapons falling into rebel hands, I think at the end of the day all of us would suffer from that. I'm sure they would be very accepting of international actions," he said of Russia.

"But we want to make sure if you're going to send weapons, specifically weapons, we want to make sure it goes into the right hands and doesn't end up as I alluded to earlier on in the hands of groups like Al-Qaeda."

by Andrew Beatty © 2012 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: Jul 18, 2012