Syria: Al-Qaeda's Battle for Control of Assad's Chemical Weapons Plant

(Telegraph-UK) Colin Freeman - The fight for the al-Safira military base on the edge of Aleppo, believed to house one of the Syrian regime's main chemical weapons plants, shows just how close such weapons could be to falling into al-Qaeda's hands. Among the rebel lines in al-Safira flutters the black flag of the al-Nusra Brigade, the jihadist group that recently declared its allegiance to al-Qaeda. Earlier this month they pushed to within just over a mile of al-Safira, before Syrian troops regained the ground last week. As the Syrian uprising has intensified in the past year, the regime has been secretly moving its stockpiles to weapons dumps all over the country, much of which it barely controls anymore. Nobody knows, therefore, when or where a cache might be captured by the opposition's more militant factions. Outside intelligence estimates reckon that Damascus has between 100 and 200 warheads filled with sarin for its Scud missiles, and thousands of chemical artillery bombs filled with sarin and VX.

2013-04-30 00:00:00

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