Syrian Chemical Weapons - The Terrorism Threat

(International Institute for Counter-Terrorism-IDC Herzliya) Syria has one of the largest chemical weapons arsenals, including traditional chemical agents, such as mustard, and more modern agents, such as sarin, and persistent nerve agents, such as VX. Syria has accumulated a stockpile of approximately 1,000 tons of chemical weapons. Since 2009 Syria has been amassing a larger chemical weapons arsenal and engineering more complex chemical compounds. Syria has a variety of platforms it can use to deliver its chemical weapons including aerial bombs, artillery shells and rockets, and ballistic missiles. Much of Syrian chemical weapons designed for large-scale military use are binary, or stored as two separate ingredients that must be combined before lethal use, making it hard for its detonation by non-professional elements. Besides the use of chemical warfare by the Syrian government, there is a real and immediate threat that chemical weapons, agents or precursors could fall into the hands of terrorist organizations, be it Hizbullah, pro-Syrian Palestinian organizations, the Free Syrian Army and its local units or the various Islamist and jihadist factions like Jabhat al-Nusra. Al Arabiya TV reported on May 4, 2013, that, according to a Free Syrian Army spokesperson, Hizbullah, along with forces loyal to the Syrian president, used mustard-gas artillery shells during the fighting around the strategic town of al-Qusayr.

2013-09-10 00:00:00

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