Friday, June 22, 2012

U.S. concerned Israel may launch attacks on Syrian WMD sites

U.S. intelligence agencies are closely watching Israel’s military for signs it will conduct strikes on Syria’s stockpiles of chemical weapons, amid concerns the deadly nerve agents could fall under the control of Hezbollah or al Qaeda terrorists, U.S. officials said.

Syria’s arsenal remains vulnerable as the result of the internal conflict currently underway in Syria between government forces and opposition rebels, one official said.

“Everyone suspects Syria maintains an active chemical weapons program; and it would be dangerous not to plan accordingly,” the official said.

As for concerns the weapons will be captured or transferred, the official said: “Most countries that have CW stocks view it as a strategic, not tactical, tool—and strategic tools are usually pretty well protected and aren’t given away lightly.”

However, other U.S. officials said special operations forces are prepared to take action inside Syria in the event the regime falls and the country spirals further into chaos. The teams would seek to secure or destroy stockpiles of chemical arms to keep them from being taken over by terrorists. Hezbollah has been very active in Syria, and there are reports that al Qaeda terrorists have moved into Syria during the current crisis. more