ibusinesslines.com
ibusinesslines.com May 01, 2017


Syria's Assad has 3 tons of chemical weapons: Israeli officials

20 April 2017, 07:11 | Erica Roy

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The Russian military is questioning the conclusions by the global chemical weapons watchdog that victims of the April 4 suspected chemical attack in Syria were exposed to sarin or a similar toxin.

Assad's government denies using chemical weapons against its own people, despite its involvement in a 2013 sarin attack which is believed to have killed more than 1,000 residents of the rebel-held Damascus suburbs.

After the US strike, Russian Federation said it would suspend its participation in a hotline with the United States military to "deconflict" or minimize the risk of mid-air collisions in Syrian airspace, but USA officials said this week that the two militaries continued to communicate.

Leading weapons expert and MIT professor emeritus Theodore Postol has been one of the most prominent voices pushing back against the intelligence used to tie Assad to the chemical weapons attack.

The move comes as OPCW head Ahmet Uzumcu said Wednesday that "incontrovertible" test results by the OPCW team already probing the incident had shown sarin gas or a similar substance were used in the attack.

The assessment, based on Israeli intelligence, was revealed to reporters two weeks after a chemical attack in Syria killed at least 90 people.


Western nations have accused the Syrian regime of carrying out the suspected air strike, but Moscow, the closest ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has sought to clear the regime of blame. Israel welcomed the strike on its northern neighbor. Iran and Hezbollah, both bitter enemies of Israel, along with Russian Federation have sent forces to support Assad. There also is evidence that the Islamic State group and other insurgents have acquired chemical weapons. But doubts began to emerge soon afterward that not all such armaments or production facilities were declared and destroyed.

Dan Kaszeta, a United Kingdom -based chemical weapons expert, said the Israeli estimate appeared to be conservative, but nonetheless was enough to be highly lethal.

"One ton of sarin could easily be used to perpetrate an attack on the scale of the 2013 attack".

"We don't know whether those dead children were killed in Khan Sheikhoun", he said in an interview with AFP TV.

"While further details of the laboratory analyses will follow, the analytical results already obtained are incontrovertible", Uzumcu told the meeting of the body's executive council which resumed Wednesday at its headquarters in The Hague. Former Brig. Gen. Zaher al-Sakat said the Syrian government still possessed hundreds of tons of chemical weapons.



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