Defected Syrian general says country's chemical arsenal matches Israel's nuclear store
The Syrian regime has a large arsenal of chemical weapons, which matches up to Israel’s nuclear arsenal, the defected former head of Syria's chemical warfare program told Al Arabiya on Monday.
Major-General Adnan Sillu, who defected from the regime earlier this year, was party to top-levels talks about the use of chemical weapons on both rebel fighters and civilians.
He told Al Arabiya where the Syrian regime has stored its chemical weapons in specific cities across the war-torn country, highlighting chemical warehouses in the city of Homs and weapons stored also in scientific research center in Aleppo.
“Syria’s chemical arsenal has reached similar levels to Israel’s nuclear weapons,” he said in the interview. Israel is believed to be one of the world’s largest nuclear superpowers.
Sillu, who once led the army’s chemical weapons training program, said in June that the main storage sites for mustard gas and nerve agents are supposed to be guarded by thousands of Syrian troops but that they would be easily overrun.
“Probably anyone from the Free Syrian Army or any Islamic extremist group could take them over,” he said.
Recently, U.N. peacekeeping troops on the Golan Heights have said they were prepared in the event of Damascus using chemical weapons amid mounting unrest between the Syrian regime and the armed opposition.
Meanwhile, United Nations ambassador, Bashar Jaafari, told U.N. leaders in letters circulated Monday that opposition fighters might use chemical weapons against against civilians, and try to blame the regime of President -Assad.
The Pentagon has drawn up plans for responding to possible scenarios involving Syria’s chemical arms, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Friday during a visit to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, about 60 miles from the Syrian border.
According to the Washington Post, this has also highlighted the United State’s increasing concern that Syria’s weapons of mass destruction could fall into the hands of Islamist extremists, rogue generals or other uncontrollable factions.