Report: Assad stockpiling chemical weapons as ‘insurance policy’

Embattled Syrian leader Bashar Assad is stockpiling weapons of mass destruction rather than handing over them as agreed last summer, the Sunday Times reported, quoting Israeli and Russian sources.

The report cites the sources as saying that the WMDs, which include chemical and biological weapons, are being upgraded with North Korean and Iranian assistance, and are believed by the Israelis to be located in Western Syria, in “the heartland of his Alawite sect”. They are to serve, the paper said, “as an insurance policy in case (Assad’s) country is eventually partitioned.”

This area where the weapons are stored, according to the report, includes the coastal region around the port city of Latakia, which last week was bombed in an attack that Palestinian sources said had been carried out by Israel.

The report also quotes a source in Israeli military intelligence as saying that, “This region is now totally fortified and isolated from the rest of Syria”.

One of the sources reportedly told the Times: “Syria has given up only about 4% of its chemical weapons arsenal, will miss this week’s deadline to send all toxic agents abroad for destruction, and probably will miss the June 30 deadline when the entire 1,300 tons of lethal chemical weapons were due to be destroyed.”

Full article: Report: Assad stockpiling chemical weapons as ‘insurance policy’ (ynet)

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