Syrian President Bashar Assad
Syrian President Bashar Assad Israel news photo: Flash 90

An officer who recently defected from the Syrian army claimed on Monday that the Syrian security forces are using non-conventional weapons in the crackdown against protesters.

The officer, Captain Abd al-Salam Ahmed Abdul Razek, told the Al-Arabiya television network that President Bashar Assad’s security forces were using chemical weapons against the protesters, under the supervision of Russia and Iran.

Razek, who served in the Syrian army’s chemical warfare unit, said that the Syrian military used nerve gas - which is prohibited under various international treaties - to facilitate the entry of troops to the city of Homs.

He added that the army also possesses toxic substances which originate in Russia, and said that a small amount of these materials could lead to widespread destruction of an entire population. Razek noted that the use of the chemical weapons was carried out under the supervision of Russian and Iranian experts, who instructed the army when and where to use it.

Meanwhile, at least 43 people were killed in Syria on Monday, Israel’s Channel 10 News reported.

The report said that Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar al-Jafari, rejected the accusations against his country during a meeting of the General Assembly.

Al-Jafari was quoted by Channel 10 as having said during the meeting that “the Syrian leadership is doing everything possible to respond to the demands for reform.”

At the same meeting, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, condemned Syria and said that “Assad has no moral right to lead his people.”

“The images of frightened women and children, helpless in the streets, must be engraved in all our consciousnesses,” Prosor said. “The international community must act immediately to stop the systematic killing of children and innocent civilians.”

The head of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Navi Pillay, said earlier on Monday that it would appear that the failure of the UN Security Council to produce a resolution to intervene against Syrian violence has motivated Assad to have the army relentlessly attack the city of Homs.

Russia and China vetoed an initiative in the Security Council on February 4 to end the deadly violence in Syria and have Assad step down from power.