Israel's Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Wednesday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad kept chemical weapons out of the hands of militants, according to Reuters.
The stunning defense came a day after it was known that NATO had voted to approve the deployment of Patriot missiles to the Turkish-Syrian border, after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's warned the Syria regime that the United States would intervene if Assad decided to use these chemical weapons against his own people in the ongoing 20-month civil war in Syria. But, apparently, Israel is as concerned about chemical weapons falling into the hands of anti-Assad insurgents.
"Together with the international community, we are closely monitoring developments in Syria regarding its stores of chemical weapons," Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday. "Such weapons must not be used and must not reach terrorist elements," he added.
Yaalon insists, "there is speculation that the chemical arsenal will fall into the hostile and irresponsible hands of the likes of al Qaeda or other terrorist groups [...] in the past, clear messages were relayed to Assad on a number of opportunities, and in response Assad in fact gathered up the weaponry and separated the materials," he said.