December 3rd, 2012
03:07 PM ET

Syria mixing chemical warfare agents, U.S. official

By Barbara Starr

Syrian forces began combining chemicals that would be used to make deadly sarin gas for use in weapons to attack rebel and civilian populations, a U.S. official tells CNN.

The United States obtained intelligence over the weekend indicating this development, according to the official who had direct knowledge of the latest information.

The intelligence, the official said, came from multiple sources but declined to provide any more details about how the United states learned of it.

Sarin gas, the source said, could most readily be used to fill artillery shells.

Syrian State TV cited a Foreign Ministry official on Monday as saying the country would never use chemical weapons on its own people.

CNN reported on Sunday that U.S. intelligence is concerned about the Syrian government's intent regarding its vast chemical weapons stockpiles after what one senior American official described as "worrying signs" of activity in "the last few days."

The revelation that the regime of Syria's Bashar al-Assad is mixing chemicals underscores the reason for the increased concern.

"There are concerns the regime may be considering use of chemical weapons" the senior U.S. official told CNN on Sunday.

The official who spoke to CNN on Monday declined to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the information.

The blog Danger Room first reported the news on Monday, noting the activity is taking place in "central Syria."

Earlier in the day, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned the United States was prepared to act if Syria used chemical arms, saying that step would cross a red line previously drawn by President Barack Obama.

"I'm not going to telegraph in any specifics what we would do in the event of credible evidence that the Assad regime has resorted to using chemical weapons against their own people. But suffice it to say, we are certainly planning to take action if that eventuality were to occur," Clinton told reporters.

"There is no doubt that there is a line between even the horrors that they have already inflicted on the Syrian people and moving to what would be an internationally condemned step of utilizing their chemical weapons."

Clinton met with the Czech foreign minister and discussed the concerns, she said after the meeting. Clinton said the Czech Republic has extensive expertise with chemical and biological weapons.

"They have already been consulting about what can be and should be done, both at this time and post the inevitable fall of the Assad regime," Clinton said.

Syria is known to store its chemical stockpile, in many instances, separately from the artillery shells, rockets or missiles that would deliver those chemical weapons in an attack.

As rebel fighters continue to make some gains, capturing military assets and territory, U.S. and Middle Eastern intelligence services have been watching for some months for any signs the Syrians would be loading up those weapons with chemical agents.

In recent months, the Obama administration has acknowledged at least two instances of Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles being moved but has said it believes those were efforts to put the material in more secure locations as fighting increased.

"We don't know if there is actual intent," the U.S. official said about the latest observed activities. "This is worrisome. This is a step beyond moving them around."

Syria has had a chemical weapons program for many years with stockpiles of chemical agents, according to a 2012 report to Congress from the Director of National Intelligence. The chemical weapons "can be delivered by aerial bombs, ballistic missiles, and artillery rockets."

The country still depends on "foreign sources for key elements" of its program, including precursor chemicals, the DNI report from February stated, but has the infrastructure to support developing biological weapons.

soundoff (817 Responses)
  1. RV Repair Mission Viejo

    Good post. I'm dealing with a few of these issues as well..

    http://hobowars.com/game/linker.php?url=http://www.ocrvcenter.com/rv-repair-shop-palm-desert-california/

    June 18, 2021 at 7:17 pm | Reply
  2. tacos near me

    I want to to thank you for this very good read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it. I've got you saved as a favorite to check out new stuff you postÖ

    http://menedzserpraxis.hu/sharing/?menu=email&url=http://www.wholesalenearme.com

    June 18, 2021 at 5:00 pm | Reply
  3. RV Repair San Clemente California

    You should be a part of a contest for one of the highest quality blogs on the net. I most certainly will recommend this web site!

    https://www.ww17.2test.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=http://ocrvcenter.com/rv-repair-shop-lakewood-california/

    June 18, 2021 at 11:40 am | Reply
  4. RV Repairs Nearby

    I need to to thank you for this good read!! I certainly loved every little bit of it. I have you book marked to look at new stuff you postÖ

    https://www.2ip.ru/lookup/?ip=http://ocrv.world/rv-repair-shop-west-hollywood-california/

    June 18, 2021 at 11:34 am | Reply
  5. RV Repair Huntington Beach

    https://www.fr.paltalk.com/client/webapp/client/External.wmt?url=http://www.ocrv.pro/rv-repair-shop-gardena-california/

    June 18, 2021 at 11:04 am | Reply
  6. ballot drop box near me

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Many thanks, However I am going through issues with your RSS. I donít know why I am unable to join it. Is there anyone else having similar RSS issues? Anyone who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

    http://www.maexchange.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=bjsnearme.com/

    June 18, 2021 at 9:38 am | Reply
  7. marco's pizza near me

    I'm very happy to discover this website. I need to to thank you for ones time for this wonderful read!! I definitely savored every part of it and i also have you book marked to look at new stuff on your site.

    http://www.adminer.org/redirect/?url=http://www.nearmyspot.com

    June 18, 2021 at 9:30 am | Reply
  8. mattress stores near me

    http://www.starbvp.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=nearmyspot.com

    June 18, 2021 at 4:03 am | Reply
  9. instant covid testing near me

    I'd like to thank you for the efforts you've put in penning this site. I am hoping to check out the same high-grade content from you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my very own site now 😉

    http://www.cemgmbh.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=bjsnearme.com/

    June 18, 2021 at 2:57 am | Reply
  10. laundromat near me

    Saved as a favorite, I love your site!

    https://www.kite-rider.com/0link/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=178&url=https://www.nearmyspot.com/

    June 18, 2021 at 1:47 am | Reply
  11. optometrist near me

    http://www.caassetservices.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.reviewnearme.com/

    June 18, 2021 at 1:04 am | Reply
  12. whole foods near me

    Hello there! I just would like to give you a big thumbs up for your great info you have got here on this post. I will be returning to your site for more soon.

    https://fudou-san.com/link/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=2898&url=https://masternearme.com/

    June 17, 2021 at 11:22 pm | Reply
  13. moving companies near me

    http://www.mainerealestateagentsdirectory.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=bestlocalnearme.com/

    June 17, 2021 at 9:18 pm | Reply
  14. strip clubs near me

    Great site you've got here.. Itís hard to find excellent writing like yours these days. I really appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

    http://www.gpprinting.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=bjsnearme.com

    June 17, 2021 at 8:53 pm | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.