The Sunday Times quoted both Israeli and Russian sources as claiming that Syrian President Bashar Assad is stockpiling weapons of mass destruction in Alawite enclaves on the western coast of Syria.
According to the Times, these sources report that the work has been ongoing despite the first round of peace talks between Assad's regime and the rebels, held last week in Geneva. The talks are largely seen as having been inconclusive.
One source stated that Assad has turned over only four percent of the regime's chemical weapons and that the regime will miss this week's deadline to send all toxic agents for destruction abroad.
Israel believes that the collected arsenal is mainly consistent of chemical warheads for missiles and warheads, and that it is concealed within the Alawite enclave on Syria's western coast. One IDF source said about Assad's defense of the Alawite region between Latakia and Turkey that, "This region is now totally fortified and isolated from the rest of Syria.”
Assad's apparent strategy is to defend the Alawite sector, a western diplomat stated. “The reason for some of the worst ethnic cleansing and murder of Sunni civilians on the edge of the Alawite enclave in places like Homs, was to give better protection to the Alawites.”
The Alawites, an Islamic sect, represent only 12% of the Syrian population. About 75% are Sunnis.
The continued collapse of Syria as the civil war drags on was discussed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and King Abdullah of Jordan recently, where both shared concern over Assad's plan to carve out a heavily armed Alawite state.
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