(UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday the United States would "take action" if Syria used chemical weapons against its people.
"This is a red line for the United States," Clinton said in a warning to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
"I am not going to telegraph in any specifics what we would do in the event of credible evidence that the Assad regime has resorted to using chemical weapons against their own people. But suffice it to say we are certainly planning to take action if that eventuality were to occur."
In response, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said the government "would not use chemical weapons, if it had them, against its own people under any circumstances," The New York Times reported. The response was carried by Syria's state broadcaster.
On the fighting front, witnesses told CNN an unknown number of people were killed or wounded Monday when Syrian warplanes bombed Ras al-Ain, a town near the country's border with Turkey.
One witness told CNN fearful civilians, many "with arms and legs missing," were fleeing to the border where they were being picked up by ambulances.
Clinton commented on Syria after meeting in Prague with Czech Republic Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, indicating the two diplomats had discussed Syria, including a potential chemical weapons threat.
Schwarzenberg, characterizing the situation in Syria as "rather chaotic" and "highly dangerous," said Czech troops specializing in detecting chemical weapons and decontamination were in Jordan training forces.
Clinton was en route to a two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.
Turkish officials told Britain's Guardian newspaper they had credible evidence that if the Syrian government's aerial bombardment against opposition-held areas failed to subdue the rebels, the Assad regime would consider using missiles topped with chemical warheads in a desperate last effort to survive.
Turkey believes the regime is preparing in case it decides to use Soviet Cold War-era Scud and North Korean SS-21 Scarab tactical ballistic missiles against rebel forces, the officials said.
The missiles would likely be aimed at opposition areas but could easily stray across the border with Turkey as Syrian army artillery shells and mortars have done, Turkish officials said.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights said 3,486 people were killed in November in the fighting between government forces and rebels seeking Assad's ouster.
"In other words, 117 are killed a day, or 5 killed every hour," the network said in its report.
"We note that there are many cases where the Syrian Network for Human rights was not able to document deaths. The cases include massacres, sieges, and cut-off communication," the organization said. "Thus, the death toll is possibly much higher than what was documented."
The network said it holds Assad responsible for the killings and makes the Iranian government and other Assad backers accountable, too.