Top US Official accuses Syria of developing nuclear, biological weapons
The US administration says that despite pledges, Syria has not stopped what it termed as "militants" from crossing into Iraq to kill American troops, according to the New York Times Tuesday.
The daily said that in testimony prepared for a House hearing on Tuesday, John R. Bolton, under secretary of state for arms control, says the Bush administration is also concerned about what it views as Damascus' ongoing support for "terrorist groups" like Hamas.
In addition, he restated accusations that Syria has an ambitious program to develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
However, Bolton's testimony says there is "no information" that Syria has transferred any unconventional weapons it may have to the "terrorist groups" it is said to support.
He also says the administration "has been unable to confirm" reports that Iraq secretly transferred unconventional weapons it may have had to Syria "in an attempt to hide them from United Nations inspectors and coalition forces."
Syria, for its part, has denied that it has unconventional weapons.
Moreover, Bolton's testimony, according to the newspaper, says Syria has taken "a series of hostile actions". Just before and during the war against Baghdad, Syria "allowed military equipment to flow into Iraq," it says. "Syria permitted volunteers to pass into Iraq to attack and kill our service members during the war, and is still doing so," the testimony says.
"Although Damascus has increased its cooperation regarding Iraq since the fall of the Iraqi regime," Bolton's testimony says, "its behavior during Operation Iraqi Freedom underscores the importance of taking seriously reports and information on Syria's WMD capabilities."
The planned testimony also alleges that Syria has "a stockpile of the nerve agent sarin that can be delivered by aircraft or ballistic missiles, and has engaged in the research and development of more toxic and persistent nerve agents such as VX."
Syria, the statement continues, "is continuing to develop an offensive biological weapons capability" and has not signed the treaty banning those weapons. The testimony also expresses concern about Syria's nuclear activities, noting that Russia and Syria "have approved a draft program on cooperation on civil nuclear power," expertise that could be applied to a weapons program. (Albawaba.com)
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