Fears Rise Over Syria's Huge Chemical Arsenal

It's said to be biggest stockpile in world
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2011 9:08 AM CDT
Fears Rise Over Syria's Huge Chemical Arsenal
Protesters march during a demonstration against the Syrian regime, at Maaret Harma village, in Edlib province, Syria, on Friday Aug. 26, 2011.   (AP Photo/Shaam News Network)

As unrest continues in Syria, concerns are rising over Syria’s chemical arsenal: The weapons it contains are among the world’s most dangerous, and they’re easy to transport, the Washington Post reports. Syria holds quantities of sarin, a deadly nerve agent that can be released into the air or used to contaminate food or water. It’s not likely Syrian president Bashar al-Assad would hand the weapons to terrorists, analysts say—but if the opposition knocks out his security services, the weapons could go missing.

“This is a scenario that’s on the radar screen if things go downhill,” says a US official. Syria has been developing chemical weapons since the 1970s; while the US and Russia cut down on their chemical weaponry, Syria kept building its arsenal. Experts say it may now be the world’s biggest chemical stockpile, and believe it includes a raft of missiles and rockets that can deliver the poison. The CIA also believes Syria has been working to create VX, a nerve agent even deadlier than sarin. The Post notes that Syria's chemical stockpile is much more worrying than Libya's. (Read more Syria stories.)

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