Syria military ‘moves chemical weapons to Homs’

Saturday, July 14, 2012
By Paul Martin
July 14, 2012

SYRIA – Intelligence has emerged suggesting the Syrian regime has moved chemical weapons to the Homs region, a source has told Sky News. A senior British intelligence official was questioned about claims in the US that several streams of signal intelligence had been intercepted detailing the transfer of a chemical agent. They said they believed the account to be a “pretty accurate description” of what the UK believes is going on. Fox News reported a senior US defense source as saying it was not clear whether the movement of the agent, possibly Sarin nerve gas, had been authorized by President Bashar al Assad or local Syrian military commanders frustrated by the ongoing uprising in Homs. The agents, which may not yet have been weaponized, were moved from previously known stockpile locations, the report said. Recent investigations by Sky News identified four sites where chemical agents are produced: Hama, Latakia, Al Safira and the Centre D’Etude et Recherche Scientifique laboratories in Damascus. Storage sites were also found at Khan abu Shamat, Furqlus, Hama, Masyaf and Palmyra. The US source was quoted as saying the Pentagon was particularly worried because Sarin can be used and released in canisters so there may not be weapons per se involved. Also Sarin does not remain in the air after an attack so a lot of people could die and the regime would have ‘plausible deniability’ that it had used a chemical agent, the source added. According to Middle Eastern and other intelligence sources, Syria has the biggest stockpiles of Sarin and VX nerve gas, as well as mustard gas, in the Middle East. Sir Mark Lyall Grant, the UK Ambassador to the UN, told Sky News he was unable to confirm the reports. But he added: ‘Clearly, if there was any suggestion the Syrian regime might start using chemical weapons that would escalate things to a whole other level.’ A single drop of Sarin can kill an adult. Some 13 commuters were killed when a religious sect released Sarin on the Tokyo metro system in 1995. A further 1,100 people were injured. Sky’s US correspondent Dominic Waghorn said: “The word of caution you have to add is we’ve heard similar claims from Israel – concerns about Syria’s chemical weapons – and we’ve heard similar claims being made in London as well.” –Sky News


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