Concerns continue to mount about Syrian bioweapons

Bashar Al-Assad

Worries continue to mount over the potential that the vast stockpile of chemical weapons in Syria could fall into the hands of militants as the days of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad look increasingly numbered.

While the size and quality of the chemical arsenal in Syria is not known, experts are fairly certain that Damascus operates a comprehensive weapons program encompassing both production and delivery capabilities, AINA reports.

“We are talking about huge stockpiles,” Major-General Amir Eshel, the head of the Israeli military planning division, said, according to AINA. “That’s a major concern because I don’t know who is going to own those the day after. Up till now, what has been transferred to Hezbollah? What will be transferred to Hezbollah? What will be divided between those factions inside Syria?”

There were similar concerns about the chemical weapons arsenal of Libya under the regime of Muammar Qaddafi. Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile is thought to be much bigger and more sophisticated.

“Syria has never signed the Chemical Weapons Convention and has been indifferent over the years to our consistent overtures to open a discussion on the issue,” Luhan said, according to AINA. “We’re monitoring events in Syria closely … and hope whatever situation subsequently develops from the turmoil will create more favorable circumstances for joining the convention.”

Experts believe that the chemical weapons stockpile includes mustard gas, sarin and possibly VX nerve agent. If Syria has biological weapon capabilities, they are more shrouded in mystery. Analysts fear that Al-Assad might transfer some of the arsenal to his allies or use chemical weapons against its own people. A chaotic end to his reign could also enable rebels, arms dealers and foreign militant groups to raid the depots.

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