TODAY | December 05, 2012
>> the civil war in syria is worsening this morning and international concerns are mounting about that country's chemical weapons stockpile. nbc's chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell is in washington with more. andrea, good morning.
>> reporter: good morning, natalie. today the u.n. secretary general warned that syria 's leader bashar al assad should not expect some safe political asylum after a civil war that's now lasted 21 months and resulted in 40,000 deaths. the civil war in syria is closing in on damascus as rebels escalated their assault on the capital tuesday, the assad regime is striking back with even more force. in brussels tuesday, nato agreed to send turkey patriot anti-missile defenses. also tuesday, russia and china, syria 's key allies, joined the u.s., warning assad not to use chemical weapons . the russian foreign minister says the use of weapons of mass destruction would have grave implications. syria has large stockpiles of chemical weapons , mustard gas , a blister agent and they are of gases including sarin and vx.
>> they are believed to be stored in warheads that could be fitted on hundreds of scud missiles and artillery shells.
>> reporter: after warnings this woke from president obama syrian state television said they would not use chemical weapons against their own people and that would force the u.s. and others to takement action.
>> this is the red light . a nightmarish scenario because it would force military intervention.
>> reporter: now no one knows how far assad would go to save himself. the other big worry, once the regime falls, as most suspect it will, how to make sure the chemical weapons don't get into the hands of terrorists. natalie.
>> andrea mitchell in washington, thanks, andrea.