Report: U.S. warns Syria´s neighbors of rogue WMDs after Assad ouster (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Haaretz 02/26/12)
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The United States is coordinating with Syria´s neighbors to safeguard
Syrian President Bashar Assad´s stockpile of weapons of mass
destruction in the event Assad is ousted by popular unrest, Foreign
Policy reported on Friday.
Assad´s reported stockpile of chemical and biological weapons has
been a cause for concern ever since the onset of his 11-month violent
crackdown on opposition protests.
Earlier this month, opposition sources reported that Syria´s military
has begun stockpiling chemical weapons and equipping its soldiers
with gas masks near the city of Homs.
Opposition activists said they had received reports that the Syrian
army had transferred a significant quantity of grenades and mortars
containing chemical agents to a school building in Homs.
The opposition also reported that gas masks were being distributed to
soldiers at roadblocks.
On Friday, Foreign Policy, citing three different U.S. officials,
reported that the United States sent out a secret message to Iraq,
Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia, warning them about WMD´s crossing
over their borders at the event of the collapse of Assad´s regime.
While the U.S. State Department declined to provide Foreign Policy
the access to the authors of the diplomatic missive, it did respond
to the report, saying: "The U.S. and our allies are monitoring
Syria´s chemical weapons stockpile."
"These weapons´ presence in Syria undermines peace and security in
the Middle East, and we have long called on the Syrian government to
destroy its chemicals weapons arsenal and join the Chemical Weapons
Convention," the State Department official told Foreign Policy.
"We believe Syria´s chemical weapons stockpile remains under Syrian
government control, and we will continue to work closely with like-
minded countries to prevent proliferation of Syria´s chemical weapons
program," the official added.
One administration official speaking to Foreign Policy concerning the
demarche said that the missive was "essentially a recognition of the
danger to the regional and international community of the stockpiles
that the regime possesses and the importance of working with
countries, given the potential fall of the regime, to prevent the
proliferation of these very sensitive weapons outside of Syria´s
"It´s an exponentially more dangerous program than Libya. We are
talking about legitimate WMDs here -- this isn´t Iraq. The
administration is really concerned about loose WMDs. It´s one of the
few things you could put on the agenda and do something about without
planning the fall of the regime," he added. (© Copyright 2012
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