Doubts Emerge about Assad's Control of Syria's Chemical Weapons

(Washington Times) Ashish Kumar Sen - President Bashar Assad likely does not have complete control over Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons, which is believed to have been shared with its allies, including Hizbullah, analysts say. "Assad controls a majority of the chemical weapons, but he gave some to Hizbullah and the shabiha [civilian thugs] so that they can protect their villages," said Kamal al-Labwani, a member of the Syrian opposition National Coalition's defense and security committee. "Hizbullah now has a large amount of chemical weapons." The weapons were taken from near the Al Dumayr military airport, 30 miles northeast of Damascus, said al-Labwani, citing reports from defectors. Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer who heads the Intelligence Project at the Brookings Institution, said, "Based on the intelligence presentations from the U.S., the UK and France, the Syrian scientific research institute, CERS, prepared the sarin nerve agent for August's attack. CERS reports directly to Assad. Whether Assad personally ordered the attack or not, he is responsible for what his subordinates do."

2013-09-11 00:00:00

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