Assad’s biological weapons absent from US-Russia deal

A military strike once contingent on chemical weapons has now become a game of semantics as a loophole has been exploited:

Syrian President Bashar Assad has two biological weapons bases, developing anthrax and other devastating biological agents, and yet the US-Russia deal aimed at stripping his regime of chemical weapons makes no provisions for his biological weapons capability, Israeli TV reported Sunday night.

There is “not a word” about biological weapons in the agreement that US Secretary of State John Kerry discussed with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Sunday, Channel 10 news said.

Assad has two biological weapons bases, one of them subterranean and a second in a coastal location, producing anthrax and other agents, the report said.

In an unclassified report in April, US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper assessed that Syria could be capable of producing limited biological weapons.

“Based on the duration of Syria’s longstanding biological warfare (BW) program, we judge that some elements of the program may have advanced beyond the research and development stage and may be capable of limited agent production,” Clapper wrote. “Syria is not known to have successfully weaponized biological agents in an effective delivery system, but it possesses conventional and chemical weapon systems that could be modified for biological agent delivery.”

A 2008 report on Syrian WMDs, by Anthony Cordesman of the US Center for Strategic and International Studies, went further, citing Israeli sources. According to Israel, Cordesman wrote, “Syria weaponized botulinum and ricin toxins in the early 1990s, and probably anthrax.”

The design of biological bombs and missile warheads with the lethality of small nuclear weapons may now be within Syrian capabilities, as is the design of UAV, helicopter, cruise missile, or aircraft-borne systems to deliver the agent slowly over a long line of flight and taking maximum advantage of wind and weather conditions,” he wrote.

Full article: Assad’s biological weapons absent from US-Russia deal (The Times of Israel)

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