Daily Israel Report

Syrian Rebels Claim to Take Over Chemical Weapons

A statement published by the Syrian rebels says that they have taken over a military base and found missiles with non-conventional warheads.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/29/2012, 2:16 AM

A Free Syrian Army fighter fires an RPG
A Free Syrian Army fighter fires an RPG
Reuters

The Supreme Military Council of the Syrian rebels released on a statement on Tuesday which said that the rebel forces took control of an army missile base in Damascus, in which ten ready-to-launch missiles were found. Some of the missiles, according to the statement, were converted to carry non-conventional warheads.

“During the successful operation, the operatives of the Free Syrian Army found a large number of rockets ready for launching, with enormous destructive capability, and they were very surprised to find missiles that were converted to carry non-conventional warheads and which can be equipped with chemical or biological warheads,” said the statement which was translated by Arab affairs expert Dalit Halevi.

The Supreme Military Council of the rebels went on to claim that it had confirmed the report by examining photographic documentation of the scene.

The Council warned that these facts indicate that the Assad regime is getting ready to bomb cities in Syria using these missiles, and the possibility that he will use missiles with unconventional warheads cannot be ruled out.

The Council called on Arab countries and the international community to immediately intervene in order to protect the lives of the Syrian people “before the regime moves to a new level of crimes, which will have tragic consequences for the entire region.”

On Monday, French President Francois Holllande warned that any use of chemical weapons by Syria would be sufficient reason for Western countries to intervene in Syria.

Hollande said that France was working along with several other countries to create a protective zone around Syria, to be in position to move in if necessary.

A similar warning was made last week by U.S. President Barack Obama, who said that President Bashar al-Assad should heed U.S. warnings to neither use nor move chemical or biological weapons.

“We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people,” Obama told reporters at the White House. "We have been very clear to the Assad regime -- but also to other players on the ground -- that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.”

He added, “That would change my calculus; that would change my equation.”

Israel has expressed concerns that Assad’s chemical weapons will end up in the hands of the Hizbullah terror group if his regime falls.

Syria has admitted it has chemical weapons and has threatened to use them if attacked by external forces. It claimed it will not use these weapons on rebels fighting to oust Assad.

Recent reports from Syria indicated that Assad has transferred a battery of advanced missiles to the al-Masna border crossing, which is the central route used to transfer equipment and weapons to Hizbullah. Members of the Syrian opposition said that one of two major chemical arsenals of the Syrian regime is located near that border crossing.

This facility is located just 24 kilometers from a missile base belonging to Hizbullah and was first exposed by the London Times newspaper in May of 2010.