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Russia says Assad has no need to use chemical arms

Russia said on Saturday there was no need for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to use chemical weapons against the rebels because his forces were making steady advances on the ground.

“The regime, as the opposition is saying out in the open, is enjoying military success on the ground,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters during a joint press appearance with his Italian counterpart Emma Bonino.

“What sense is there for the regime to use chemical arms — especially in such small amounts?” Lavrov asked.

Russia said on Friday it was unconvinced by US allegations that Assad had used chemical weapons against his own people.

US President Barack Obama’s administration said on Thursday it would boost military support for the opposition as a result.

Russia has backed Assad’s regime and has provided it with weapons.