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Syria's Chemical Weapons an Opaque but Alarming Risk

Michelle E. Dover Monday, Dec. 5, 2011

Recent reports from Syria of military defectors attacking an Air Force intelligence building in Hasrata highlight the growing likelihood that Syrian military sites will become a target in the country’s ongoing conflict. While no other similar attacks have been reported since then, the Hasrata incident illustrates the possibility of escalating instability within Syria’s military command, which could in turn lead to difficulties in controlling and securing Syrian military assets. In such a climate, Syria’s alleged chemical weapons program is cause for particular concern.

The international community suspects Syria of having a comprehensive chemical weapons program that includes production and delivery capabilities, and there is unease among U.S. officials and weapons experts over how control of chemical agents and weapons may factor into the current conflict. Should the violence escalate, shifts in power could jeopardize the security and control of Syria’s chemical weapons, particularly since many of its suspected facilities are located near current or recent sites of unrest. ...

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