Jordan’s king warns of Syria chemical weapons threat
Jordan's King Abdullah II expressed concern over the use of chemical weapons in neighboring Syria, warning that an ongoing failure to solve the conflict is tipping the country towards an "abyss", dpa reported.
In a pre-recorded interview with US journalist Charlie Rose, Abdullah warned of the growing threat posed by Syria's alleged chemical weapons stockpiles, whose usage is a scenario that he says "scares everybody."
"What scares us most is weapons falling into the wrong hands," the monarch said in the interview, to be aired by the CBS, PBS and Bloomberg networks this week, according to transcripts released by the Jordanian Royal Court.
Also during the interview, the king warned that ongoing failure to arrive at a political solution in Syria is pushing the country closer to "civil war."
"The clock is ticking on a political transition and if we don't find ourselves a way out by the end of the year, then you are going to see a spike in sectarian violence and I think it's going to be a full-out civil war and I think calamity for years to come," he said.
"I'm worried about the longer we take to find a political solution and the more the chaos continues, then we may be pushing Syria into the abyss," he said.
Abdullah also cautioned that Syrian President Bashar Al Assad's exit may not an usher in a transitional period.
"If he does go, by whatever means, I don't see that the system around him is capable of changing," he said, according to the CBS website.
The king's comments come at a time of heightened tensions between Amman and Damascus, with Jordan's ongoing policy of granting refuge to military defectors triggering a series of clashes along the countries' shared border.
Observers say Jordan's recent strengthening of border forces and ongoing policy of granting asylum to high profile defectors - including most recently Prime Minister Riyadh - come as a sign that Amman is abandoning its long-held neutral stance towards the conflict.