The Battle for Syria
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|Zach Pontz||December 20th 2012|
Two days after a mysterious explosion at a Hezbollah weapons depot in southern Lebanon, the Kuwaiti website Al Jarida is reporting that Israel bombed the site because Syria had transferred missiles there that were capable of being equipped with chemical warheads. The missiles had been moved into Lebanon from Syria in the last several months and were being held inside warehouses owned by farmers in the area.
The report also claimed that Hezbollah has many additional warehouses across Lebanon that are used for the same purpose. In October another weapons storage facility in the town of Baalbek was destroyed after an explosion. The AFP said that four Syrians were killed in the blast.
The prospect of Syria using chemical weapons has become a major issue in the country’s nearly two year-old civil war. Israel has held meetings with several European countries and is also reportedly operating within Syria to track weapons movement. Reports earlier this month had it that Syria had already moved weapons into Lebanon. U.S. President Barack Obama has also stated that use of chemical weapons by Assad would be a “red line.”
In the Washington Post Tuesday, David Ignatius wrote of a conversation he had with a source close to Syrian defectors who had ties to the chemical weapons program in Syria.
“According to the defector’s account, two senior Syrian officers moved about 100 kilograms of chemical weapons materials from a secret military base in January. The base was in a village called Nasiriyah, about 50 to 60 kilometers northeast of Damascus,” Ignatius writes.
“The Syrian source also described construction of special trucks, which could transport and mix the weapons, at a workshop in the Damascus suburb of Dummar. This workshop was part of a network of secret research facilities known in Arabic as the ‘Bohous.’”
Ignatius arrives at the same conclusion so many in the West have: Bashar al-Assad and chemical weapons are a major threat to the region.
“What should we make of these reports? First, the Syrian chemical-warfare capability may be even more dangerous than people had thought, because the weapons can be moved to other locations and mixed en route. And, second, there’s a significant risk of proliferation to other groups, such as Hezbollah, which could pose a global terrorist threat.”
Zach Pontz writes for Algemeiner, from where this article was adapted.