Syrian free army gas mask370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)
The regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad has enough of the nerve gas sarin to
"eradicate the whole of Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo," a former
Syrian chemical weapons scientist told Al Jazeera on Friday.
"If the regime is to fire a Scud-B with a chemical warhead filled with
sarin, the missile would create a chemical cloud in the atmosphere that
is 3km long and 500m wide, which could be fatal to all people under it,"
the scientist, that asked to remain anonymous, said.
scientist told Al Jazeera that Syria's chemical weapons stockpile
700 tons of sarin gas as well as an unspecified quantity of mustard gas, at
least 3,000 aerial bombs that could be fitted with chemical warheads
and more than 100 chemical warheads for Scud missiles. He dispelled
assessments by Western intelligence that Syria has tabun nerve gas.
that, the scientist that fled Syria claimed that the Assad regime will only
unleash its chemical stockpiles if it "no longer cares about the world
He told Al Jazeera that the Assad regime used sarin gas
in small quantities to stop rebel advances in four towns in the suburbs
of Damascus, in Aleppo's Sheikj Maksoud district, in Idlib's Saraqeb
town and in Homs' al-Khalidiyeh district.
"The intention was to
incapacitate rebels and force them out of strategic areas, while keeping
the deaths among their ranks limited," he said.
Despite that, he cast doubt on reports that sarin gas was used by the Assad regime in Khan
al-Assal in Aleppo on March 19, saying the gas has no smell, while
medics reported a disgusting smell at the attack site.
scientist added that the Assad regime has experimented with mixing
different gases in order to make it harder to identify chemical weapons
"When opposition activists report different kinds of
symptoms resulting from the different gases, it becomes hard to believe
them. Some opposition fighters report a burning sensation in the eyes,
raising the question as to whether this was tear gas or nerve gas," he
told Al Jazeera.
The scientist said plans to use chemical weapons
against rebel forces were not formed before December 2012, after his
supervisor was kidnapped by the Assad regime in order to find ways to
stabilize sarin in small munitions like cannon shells.
The scientist formerly worked at the chemistry institute of the Center
for Scientific Studies and Research (CSSR), Syria’s main agency for the
development and enhancement of weaponry, that was reportedly hit by
Israeli air raids in February.
He was told by the regime that the
chemical weapons stockpile was amassed as self-defense against Israel.
"It was our dogma that we were creating the equivalent of Israel’s
nuclear weapons. Never were we told that the weapons could be used
inside the country," he said.
According to the scientist, there
are around 9,000 employees at CSSR, 6,000 of them working in rocket
development and 300 in chemical weapons development. These scientists
work with two secret army units, 451 and 452, that handle the chemical
weapons and secure them.
The scientist also revealed that
infrastructure and equipment to produce sarin was provided to Syria by
the former West Germany, and that Armenian specialists trained in the
Soviet Union aided in the production of VX in the 1990s.