Monday, September 2, 2013

Syrian Chemical Weapons are under the watch of Russia

According to the Israeli Intelligence News outlet, DEBKA, Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles are being protected by Russian forces.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s stated that “Syria has “consolidated its chemical weapons in one or two locations… and they are under control.”

Russian military advisers training Syria’s military,” he said, “have kept close watch over its chemical arsenal.” (Debka, December 22, 2012)



In September 2012, the Syrian military began moving its chemical weapons from Damascus to the port city of Tartus. That same month, it was reported that the military had restarted testing of chemical weapons at a base on the outskirts of Aleppo. On 28 September, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta stated that the Syrian regime had moved its chemical weapons in order to "secure" them from approaching opposition forces. It emerged that the Russian government had helped set up communications between the United States and Syria regarding the status of Syria's chemical weapons. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that Syria had given the United States "explanations" and "assurances" that it was taking care of the weapons. On 8 December, it was reported that members of the jihadist Al-Nusra Front had recently captured a Saudi-owned toxic chemicals plant outside of Aleppo.

Allegations that chemical weapons have been used in Syria first began to emerge on 23 December 2012, when Al Jazeera released unconfirmed reports that a gas attack killed 7 civilians in the rebel-held al-Bayyada neighbourhood of Homs. Less than a month later, a leaked U.S. cable revealed that American officials felt there was a "compelling case" for the use of Agent 15 by regime forces. The White House subsequently rebuked this by stating that "the reporting we have seen from media sources regarding alleged chemical weapons incidents in Syria has not been consistent with what we believe to be true about the Syrian chemical weapons program".

On 22 December 2012, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that Syria had consolidated chemical weapons into one or two places to prevent rebels capturing them, and that recent moves that had alarmed Western governments were part of this consolidation.


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