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Military expert reveals Assad's chemical arsenal


The Syrian government has repeatedly asserted that it does not possess chemical weapons. However, Syria's former head of chemical weapons research, Brig. Gen. Zaher al-Saket, had another view of his assertion that President Bashar al-Assad is stockpiling hundreds of tons of these deadly weapons.

Al-Saqat, who defected in 2013, told The Telegraph newspaper that Assad succeeded in deceiving United Nations inspectors, who were sent to destroy chemical weapons in Syria under a negotiated deal between the United States and Russia after hundreds of people were killed in the sarin gas attack. The suburbs of Damascus in 2014.

Syria did not agree with the expected military strikes, while the administration of former US President Barack Obama hastened to declare 100 percent of the chemical weapons stockpile in Damascus.

"Damascus admitted that it had only 1,300 tons of chemical weapons, but we knew in fact that it doubled," Saket said. "They had at least 2,000 tonnes."

The former commander of the British Chemical Weapons Unit, Hamish de Breton Gordon, who now provides advice to Syrian NGOs, said the amount announced by Sacket was higher than his own estimate, but described it as "reasonable".

The former head of chemical weapons research in Syria believes the undeclared stocks include hundreds of tons of sarin gas, bombs that can be filled with deadly chemicals and chemical warheads for Scud missiles.

Since 2013, tonnes of chemicals have been transported to the fortified mountains outside Homs and to the coastal town of Jibla near Tartus, where the largest military base is located.

As for Damascus' strategy to use chemical weapons, Al-Saket explained that Damascus had mixed different gases such as sarin and tear gas to create more symptoms that would make it difficult to determine the quality of the chemical weapon used.

"The old sarin or sarin, which was mixed and prepared years ago, was used in the Khan Shikhun attack in Idlib, which left 86 people dead," Gordon said.

However, British investigators at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said on Thursday that samples of the victims of the Khan Sheikhan attack had become positive for the sarin, a nervous agent not known to the rebels.

"The Syrian army has not made more nerve gas since 2014," he said. "They do not need anything else, they have everything they really need."

Al-Saket admitted during his interview with the British newspaper that before his dissolution was personally ordered by his commander General Ali Hassan Ammar to carry out three chemical attacks, the first in October 2012 in the city of Sheikh Maskin, and in December 2012 close to mobility, and in January 2013 in the sight of silk, where Demonstrations were taking place against Assad in the province of Daraa.

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