The United States and Jordan are preparing to secure Syria’s vast stores of chemical and biological weapons in case the Syrian government loses control, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday. Syria has large stockpiles of nerve agents and mustard gas.
Jordan and Turkey have expressed concern that the weapons could fall into terrorist hands as unrest grows. Israel is highly concerned as well, particularly over the possibility of Hizbullah obtaining the arms.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reportedly raised the issue with U.S. President Barack Obama and other top U.S. officials.
Syria’s weapons stores, thought to be among the largest in the world, are located in dozens of facilities across the country. Some are found in cities experiencing heavy fighting, including Hama and Homs.
An officer who recently defected from the Syrian army has claimed that Assad’s troops are using the non-conventional weapons against civilian protesters.
The joint U.S.-Jordanian plans do not call for unilateral action in Syria. Instead, the plans would be put into effect in case of a larger peacekeeping mission in the country.
“Anything of that nature has to be done in a permissive environment,” a senior U.S. official was quoted as saying.