Syria unleashes helicopters on rebels in Aleppo
For its part, Syria warned the international community Monday that it had chemical weapons and would use them in the case of any foreign aggression.
In a speech before a veterans’ association in Reno, Nevada, President Barack Obama cautioned Syria against unleashing its non-conventional arsenal.
“Given the regime’s stockpiles of chemical weapons, we will continue to make it clear to Assad and those around him that the world is watching, and that they will be held accountable by the international community and the United States, should they make the tragic mistake of using those weapons,” he said.
Assad on Tuesday reshuffled the generals at the core of his regime’s highly secretive security apparatus. A government official said that Assad appointed Maj. Gen. Ali Mamlouk, the former head of General Intelligence, to the key post of head of the National Security Council. His predecessor, Maj. Gen. Hisham Ikhtiyar, died of wounds sustained in last week’s bombing.
Maj. Gen. Abdel Fattah Qudsiyeh, the former head of Military Intelligence, was named the council’s deputy chief, replacing a general who was apparently fired. The EU has imposed sanctions on Qudsiyeh for his role in the crackdown on the uprising. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss security matters.
• Associated Press writers Zeina Karam in Beirut and Albert Aji in Damascus, Syria, contributed to this report.