French-Syrian arrested for alleged delivery of chemical weapon parts to Syria

The AFP said the suspect, who was arrested on Saturday in southern France, was born in 1962 and lives outside of France.

Employees of the Research Institute for Protective Technologies, Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection (WIS) inspect a dummy sample which is contaminated with a substance similar to the chemical weapon Sarin. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Employees of the Research Institute for Protective Technologies, Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection (WIS) inspect a dummy sample which is contaminated with a substance similar to the chemical weapon Sarin.
(photo credit: REUTERS)

French authorities arrested a dual Syrian-French national on charges that he supplied military technology to the Syrian regime for use in chemical weapons.

The French wire service AFP reported on the chemical weapons delivery allegation on Sunday based on sources familiar with the case. The unidentified suspect used his shipping company to deliver the components to Syria.

"He returned to France with his family for the holidays," said a source. He has been detained on suspicion of "conspiracy to commit crimes against humanity, accessory to crimes against humanity and accessory to war crimes, “ according to a judicial source.

The AFP said the suspect, who was arrested on Saturday in southern France, was born in 1962 and lives outside of France.

AFP reported that the alleged crimes stem from March, 2011 and lasted until at least January 2018 and possibly later. The French authorities did not release the name of the man who is the first suspect facing an inquiry for aiding the Syrian army.

Male hands arrested with handcuffs in Criminal concept (illustrative) (credit: INGIMAGE)Male hands arrested with handcuffs in Criminal concept (illustrative) (credit: INGIMAGE)

"This man is accused of having, through a company based in different places, in France and in the United Arab Emirates, participated in supplying the means to various state structures of the Syrian regime in charge of the production of non-conventional weapons,” a source  told AFP "

According to one legal source, it is the first time someone has been placed under formal investigation in France on suspicion of supporting the Syrian army.

The Jerusalem Post has previously reported in 2019  that the giant German chemical companies Brenntag AG and BASF allegedly sold chemical agents to the Syrian regime that can be used for poison gas warfare against civilians. 

In  2018, the Post reported that a Syrian photographer found parts made by the German company the Krempel Group in the remains of Iranian-produced chemical rockets that gassed Syrian civilians in January and February of 2018. 

Since the war has unfolded in Syria in 2011, the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has killed over half a million people, according to estimates.

According to chemical weapons watchdog organizations, Syria’s regime has imposed chemical warfare multiple times on its populations.

In December, the UN wrote on its website that  “On 1 February 2018, Syria dropped chemical barrel bombs on its own people ‘as part of barbaric siege,’ followed by a chemical attack, which burned the skin of its victims, he said, pointing out that these facts underscored the ‘audacity of the Assad regime,’ which steadfastly denies the truth and portrays itself as a victim. He said that the Assad regime and its enablers, notably the Russian Federation, should know that the United States will use all available tools to promote accountability.  Syria has used chemical weapons an estimated 50 times since the start of the conflict.”

Syria’s regime claims it has not used chemical weapons to target civilians. Western powers charged Syria’s regime with conducting a sarin gas attack that killed 1,400 people in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta in 2013.