DAMASCUS: Syria's rebels on Tuesday accused strongman Bashar al-Assad of moving chemical weapons to the country's borders, a day after his beleaguered regime said it would use its stockpiles if attacked.
On the political front, the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) said Tuesday it would be willing to accept a transition led temporarily by a member of the regime if Assad steps aside, after armed rebels suffered setbacks in their bid to overrun Damascus.
The Free Syrian Army said the chemical arsenal had been moved in a bid to pressure the international community, much of which has called for Assad to step aside in the face of the uprising against his rule.
"We in the joint command of the Free Syrian Army inside the country know very well the locations and positions of these weapons," the statement said.
"We also reveal that Assad has transferred some of these weapons and equipment for mixing chemical components to airports on the border," a statement said.
"According to our information, the regime began moving its stocks of weapons of mass destruction several months ago ... with the goal of putting pressure on the region and the international community."
At a Damascus news conference on Monday, foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi acknowledged that Syria has chemical weapons and said the regime would use them if attacked by outsiders, though not against its own civilians.
"Syria will not use any chemical or other unconventional weapons against its civilians, and will only use them in case of external aggression," Makdissi said.
"Any stocks of chemical weapons that may exist, will never, ever be used against the Syrian people," he said, adding that in the event of foreign attack, "the generals will be deciding when and how we use them."