UK: Risk of chemical catastrophe if Syria's Assad goes

By REUTERS
July 10, 2013 16:30




LONDON- Syria's huge array of chemical weapons could fall into the hands of militants if President Bashar Assad was toppled, with "catastrophic" consequences, according to a report by senior British lawmakers published on Wednesday.

Britain's foreign intelligence services had no doubt Syria owned "vast stockpiles" of such weapons, including mustard gas, sarin, ricin and VX, the deadliest nerve agent, parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) said in its report.

"There has to be a significant risk that some of the country's chemical weapons stockpile could fall into the hands of those with links to terrorism, in Syria or elsewhere in the region - if this happens, the consequences could be catastrophic," the committee said.

The conflict in Syria has killed 100,000 people, driven a 1.7 million more abroad as refugees and left swathes of urban Syria in ruins, although neither the violence nor economic collapse has truly shaken Assad's power base.


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