Syria: Plans made for worst-case scenarios

2012-08-11 22:09
US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton meets Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul. (Kayhan Ozer, AP)

US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton meets Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul. (Kayhan Ozer, AP)

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Istanbul - US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton and Turkey's foreign minister said on Saturday that their countries are creating a formal structure to plan for worst-case scenarios in Syria, including a possible chemical weapons attack on regime opponents.

Clinton and foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu said their two nations would set up a working group to respond to the crisis in Syria as conditions there deteriorate. They said the group will coordinate military, intelligence and political responses to the potential fallout in the case of a chemical attack, which would result in medical emergencies and a likely rise in the number of refugees fleeing Syria.

"We have been closely co-ordinating over the course of this conflict, but now we need to get into the real details of such operational planning. It needs to be across both of our governments," Clinton said.

She said the US state department and Turkey's foreign ministry had already been working together on the issue but that the new working group would increase the involvement of the intelligence services and militaries of both countries.

Among the contingencies that the US and Turkey agree on the need to plan for is "the horrible event" that chemical weapons are used, Clinton said.

"What would that mean in terms of response, humanitarian and medical emergency assistance and, of course, what needs to be done to secure those stocks from ever being used or falling into the wrong hands?" Clinton said.

In July, Syria's foreign ministry spokesperson threatened the use of chemical and biological weapons in case of a foreign attack, assuring that government would never use them against its own citizens. It was the first acknowledgement that Syria possesses weapons of mass destruction, something that's long been suspected.

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Read more on:    hillary clinton  |  syria  |  turkey  |  us  |  uprisings  |  syria protests
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