Syrian opposition plans to secure chemical weapons

According to a senior figure in the Syrian opposition, the rebels plan to take control of Syria's chemical weapons depots and secure them in the hours following the collapse of the regime.

The leader, a former senior officer in the Syrian Army speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the opposition knows the locations of the chemical weapons stores and plans to quickly move to secure them, Haaretz reports.

"In addition to fighting the regime there are a group of us preparing for the chaos that we know will ensue on the day the regime is toppled," the senior figure said, according to Haaretz. "We have committees dealing with a new constitution and elections, justice and the restoration of security. We have divided the aftermath into four periods with different priorities for each day. The first period is the first day, the first hours after Assad's control breaks down, and one of the priorities during those hours is taking control of the chemical weapons so they won't fall into the hands of terrorists."

Israeli security officials have expressed concern that the weapons could be obtained by Hezbollah or other organizations with terrorist ties. Approximately 70,000 loyal soldiers are still fighting with the government against 30,000 soldiers fighting for the opposition. The opposition leader said that approximately one-third of the armed forces for Syria have defected and that Assad has been receiving advisory and technological assistance from Hezbollah, Iran and Iraqi fighters.

"Among other things, they have brought aerial drones that assist Assad's forces with surveillance," the opposition leader said, according to Haaretz. "They also opened up a slush fund with millions of dollars to help Assad buy more arms from the Russians. In the past, the Soviet Union sold Syria arms on credit, now they are demanding cash up-front on all arms deals and the money is coming from Tehran. Iran knows that if Assad falls, their entire power structure all the way to Hezbollah in Lebanon will also fall. But there is a limit to how much Iran will do to help Syria. They won't send in army units to save him because they know this will be a cause for Israel to attack them."