Syrian chemical weapon transport to port city raised alarm

The United States and European countries continued to warn Syria after the embattled nation moved chemical weapons from a storage base near Damascus to the port city of Tartus in August.

Western nations are concerned that the chemical weapons could fall into the hands of Lebanon-based Hezbollah or other extremist groups.

On August 20, President Barack Obama said that the U.S. could consider intervening with its military if Syria used or deployed its chemical weapons. British diplomatic sources said the warning came after the weapons were moved from Damascus to Tartus, Al-Rai reports.

Officials reported on Thursday that they were worried Syria had dispersed its chemical weapons stockpile to 20 different sites around the country. The locations and names of the potential sites were not released, the Washington Post reports.

Russia, a Syrian ally, recently warned Hezbollah not to accept chemical weapons from Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin assured Israel that Syria's chemical weapons will not leave the country's stockpiles.

Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Hezbollah, released a statement on September 3 stating that the group does not possess chemical weapons and that the weapons are banned under Islamic law, Al-Nahar reports.

Officials in Israel and the West are concerned that chemical weapons could end up in terrorist hands because of the chaos of Syria's civil war. There is also a fear that Bashar al Assad could use the weapons on rebels, the Times of Israel reports.