Report: Syria continues to develop bioweapons
The Office of the National Intelligence Director, in an assessment to Congress, warned that Damascus could already have achieved limited bioweapon production, WorldTribune.com reports.
"Based on the duration of Syria's longstanding biological warfare program, we judge that some elements of the program may have advanced beyond the research and development stage and may be capable of limited agent production," the March 12 assessment said, according to WorldTribune.com
For the last decade, the U.S. intelligence community has only maintained that Syria's bioweapons program did not extend beyond the research and development stage. According to National Intelligence Director James Clapper, who presented the assessment, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime was working towards the use of missiles and artillery capable of utilizing both biological and chemical weapons.
"Syria is not known to have successfully weaponized biological agents in an effective delivery system, but it possesses conventional and chemical weapon systems that could be modified for biological agent delivery," the assessment said, WorldTribune.com reports.
Syria's chemical weapons program is also detailed in the report. Clapper said that Syria now holds a stockpile of missiles and aerial bombs, and potentially artillery rockets that could deliver chemical weapon agents.
"This advanced CW program has the potential to inflict mass casualties, and we assess that an increasingly beleaguered regime, having found its escalation of violence through conventional means inadequate, might be prepared to use CW against the Syrian people," Clapper said, according to WorldTribune.com.
Syria has also allegedly aided Iran and North Korea in developing weapons.