(Newsroom America) -- The Syrian government said Monday it would resort to using chemical and biological weapons if attacked, the first admission the country possessed such weapons of mass destruction.
Jihad Makdissi, a spokesman for the foreign ministry, vowed, however, that the regime would not use such weapons against its own citizens.
The statement comes as Syria faces international condemnation and potentially isolation, a growing rebellion that has left 19,000 people dead and new threats from Israel to invade to keep WMD stockpiles from falling into the hands of rebel and terrorist groups.
"No chemical or biological weapons will ever be used, and I repeat, will never be used, during the crisis in Syria no matter what the developments inside Syria," Makdissi said at a news conference broadcast on Syrian television.
"All of these types of weapons are in storage and under security and the direct supervision of the Syrian armed forces and will never be used unless Syria is exposed to external aggression," he said.
The Syrian government has suffered a string of setbacks in recent days as rebel forces gain more control over regions of the country, including several border crossings. Also, rebels staged a bomb attack last week that killed several high-level security and defense officials.
Though Makdissi said the government would not use its unconventional weapons against the civilian population, the statement he read also said Syria was not facing an internal enemy, but rather that the rebellion was being funded by outside forces.
He said Damascus was also under assault by a foreign political and media apparatus "that seeks to justify and prepare international public opinion for military intervention under the false pretense of weapons of mass destruction."
In its arsenal, Syria is believed to possess nerve agents as well as mustard gas, anti-tank rockets and portable-fired surface-to-air missiles. The Syrian military is also believed to have ballistic missiles capable of carrying its WMD agents.
Israel has said it is worried that in the ensuing chaos, if the regime of President Bashar al-Assad falls, the country's chemical weapons stockpiles could fall into the hands of the country's more extremist enemies.
The Israeli government has not ruled out military intervention to secure those stockpiles.
U.S. intelligence officials, however, said the Syrian government appears to have moved its stockpiles out of the northern part of the country, where the fighting is most intense, most likely to both secure and consolidate it, The Associated Press reported.
© 2012 Newsroom America.