Report: Hezbollah Apparently Already Has Chlorine Gas

May 11, 2015  

Syria is believed to have succeeded in transferring chemical weapons to Hezbollah, Channel 1 television’s military affairs correspondent said Monday.

According to the reporter, Amir Bar Shalom, it appears chlorine gas bombs have made their way from Syria to Hezbollah’s hands, despite the IDF’s efforts to interdict the transfer.

Forces loyal to Syrian strongman Bashar Assad have recently been using chlorine gas against civilians in the ongoing civil war there, despite Syria’s having supposedly gotten rid of its chemical weapons stockpiles, in an agreement the Obama administration took pride in.

Bar Shalom noted that the IDF has recently been repeatedly targeting convoys and facilities along the Syria-Lebanon border because of these developments.

He explained that Assad’s use of chlorine bombs in recent months obviously indicates has the ability to use such weapons successfully. It would be a relatively easy matter to transfer the weapons a few kilometers across the border into Lebanon and into Hezbollah’s hands, he noted.

Bar Shalom then played a video in which Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Monday: “We do not allow the transfer of chemical weapons – chlorine bombs – their transfer to various terror organizations.”

Barrel bombs

Human Rights Watch said on in April that eyewitness accounts and evidence collected from northwestern Syria “strongly” suggest regime forces dropped toxic chemicals on civilians several times.

The New York-based rights group said the chemicals appeared to have been packed into crude explosives-packed barrels that were dropped by military helicopter on rebel-held areas during heavy fighting for the city of Idlib.

“Evidence strongly suggests that Syrian government forces used toxic chemicals in several barrel bomb attacks in Idlib governorate between March 16 and 31, 2015,” HRW said.

HRW said it had investigated six reported attacks in Idlib and villages outside, collecting evidence from rescue workers and other civilians that provided a compelling case in three of them.

The most conclusive evidence came from a March 16 attack on the village of Sarmin, which left a family of six, including three children, dead, and an attack on Idlib city on March 31.

“The children were foaming at the mouth, they were suffocating, then their hearts stopped,” said Leith Fares, a rescue worker in Sarmin.

HRW said it could not conclusively establish the chemical used but volunteers from the Syrian Civil Defence said they found remnants of barrel bombs at attack sites and smelled chlorine gas on victims’ clothes.

In early March, the UN Security Council adopted a US-drafted resolution condemning the use of chlorine in Syria and threatening sanctions if the chemicals were used again.

“The Syrian government appears to be thumbing its nose at the Security Council and international law yet again,” HRW’s deputy Middle East director Nadim Houry said.

Damascus did not have to declare its stocks of chlorine, under a 2013 agreement to dismantle its chemical arsenal as it is widely used for
commercial and domestic purposes. But use of the gas for military purposes would be a breach of its undertakings under the Chemical Weapons Convention, which it signed as part of the deal.

Accompanying photos from Syria, taken in the course of the last eight days, show villagers in the Idlib area wearing gas masks, and Civil Defense officials carrying a spent chlorine gas canister. Two other photos show a boy who died after a gas attack on the town of Telminnes on April 21, 2014.

Villagers in Idlib during chlorine offensive, May 3. Reuters

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