The Assad regime continues to retain hundreds of tons of Syria’s chemical stockpile after deceiving United Nations inspectors sent in to dismantle it, according to Syria’s former chemical weapons research chief and other experts.
Brigadier-General Zaher al-Sakat, who served as head of chemical warfare in the 5th Division of the military until he defected in 2013, told The Telegraph newspaper that the Assad’s regime failed to declare large amounts of sarin precursor chemicals and other toxic materials.
“They [the regime] admitted only to 1,300 tons, but we knew in reality they had nearly double that,” said Brig Gen Sakat, who was one of the most senior figures in the country’s chemical program. “They had at least 2,000 tons. At least,” Sakat said in the interview which was published on Saturday.
Brig Gen Sakat believes the undisclosed stockpile includes several hundred tons of sarin agent as well as precursor chemicals, aerial bombs that could be filled with chemical agents and chemical warheads for Scud missiles.
Sakat, a 53-year-old general who maintained contact with officials inside Syria after his defection in March 2013, said that in the weeks and months before the OPCW inspectors arrived the regime was busy moving its hoard.
He said tons of the chemicals were transported to the heavily fortified mountains outside Homs and to the coastal city of Jablah, near Tartus, where the Assad regime and his Russian allies have their largest military base. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Al Jazeera)