Syrian defector says forces moved 100 kilos of lethal sarin gas from secret base in the direction of Lebanon
Post commentator, David Ignatius spoke to a Syrian source who received information from a Syrian defector who worked inside a chemical weapons network.
The source was speaking with Ignatius from his hiding place in an Arab country outside Syria, with the “hope of encouraging greater American involvement with the opposition.”
Though suspicious of the source’s motives, and considering the case of an Iraqi defector who delivered fabricated information to US a decade ago in order to catalyze an invasion, Ignatius stressed that the defector’s information was corroborated by independent sources.
According to the defector, in January, two senior Syrian officers were transferring 100 kilograms of the chemicals used to compose the lethal sarin gas from a secret base some 50 km northeast of Damascus in the direction of Lebanon.
US sources, however, have no evidence that chemical weapons were indeed transported outside of Syria.
Nonetheless, the Syrian defector’s account further recounted an incident in which two men with Lebanese accents arrived at the secret base, where they were trained in the methods of mixing of isopropanol and methylphosphonyl difluoride – the mixed concoction of which produces sarin gas.
Syria is known to be in the possession of some 500 tons of isopropanol and methylphosphonyl difluoride, but stores them separately so as to avoid any lethal leaks.
According to recent reports, processes of merging the substances, rendering them ready for use, have already begun. The defector’s information supports the theories by which Syria is preparing to activate chemical weapons, as it is now capable of transporting the chemicals and probably mix them en route.
To further substantiate the claim by which Assad’s regime was prepared to utilize chemical weapons, various Syrian sources reported that in a facility in the Damascus suburb of Dumar, special vehicles were upgraded in order to transport the chemical components.
The Dumar facility is part of a network of portable research laboratories, the construction of which started in the summer of 2011, a few months after the opposition to Assad’s regime started to form.
In the facility, civilian trucks were converted into portable labs for the production of chemical weapons. Various sources, including the Syrian defector, confirmed that such lab-vehicles were being prepared.
View original Ynet publication at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4322286,00.html