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Title: Syria Has Begun Moving Its Chemical Weapons Stockpile Out Of Storage, U.S. Warns
Source: Daily Mail
URL Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art ... ockpile-storage-U-S-warns.html
Published: Jul 15, 2012
Author: Graham Smith
Post Date: 2012-07-15 12:40:27 by Brian S
Keywords: None
Views: 395

Syria has started to move part of its chemical weapons arsenal out of storage facilities, according to U.S. officials.

The country's undeclared stockpiles of sarin nerve agent, mustard gas and cyanide have long worried the U.S. officials and its allies in the region, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Western nations have looked for signs amid the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad's government of any change in the location of those weapons, believed to be the world's largest stockpile.

Syrian policemen investigate a car bomb in Damascus today. The country has started to move part of its chemical weapons arsenal out of storage facilities, U.S. officials have warned

Syrian policemen investigate a car bomb in Damascus today. The country has started to move part of its chemical weapons arsenal out of storage facilities, U.S. officials have warned

American officials are divided on the reason for moving the arsenal.

Some fear Assad may want to use the weapons against rebels or civilians, while others said perhaps he is trying to safeguard them from his opponents.

 

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, travelling with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Phnom Penh, said: 'We repeatedly made it clear that the Syrian government has a responsibility to safeguard its stockpiles of chemical weapons.'

She added that 'the international community will hold accountable any Syrian officials who fail to meet that obligation'.

President Bashar al-Assad's undeclared stockpiles of sarin nerve agent, mustard gas and cyanide have long worried the U.S. and its allies in the region

President Bashar al-Assad's undeclared stockpiles of sarin nerve agent, mustard gas and cyanide have long worried the U.S. and its allies in the region

The Syrian government denied chemical stockpiles have been moved, the Journal said.

Syria is one of eight states - along with Israel and nearby Egypt - that have not joined the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, which means the world's chemical weapons watchdog has no jurisdiction to intervene there.

The Assad government has in the past denied having weapons of mass destruction.

The development comes a day after more than 250 Syrians were reportedly killed after a village was shelled and stormed by pro-government forces.

The massacre in the Sunni Muslim village Taramseh, Hama province, would be the worst yet since a rebellion against the rule of Assad began 17 months ago.

Civilians were allegedly killed 'execution-style' with shots to the head while others were shelled by tanks and helicopter gunships as their homes were burned down.

The Revolution Leadership Council of Hama said Taramseh was subjected to a barrage before pro-government Alawite militiamen swept in and killed victims one-by-one.

There were reports of bodies scattered in the surrounding fields, rivers and houses, with around 60 corpses were taken to a mosque.

Fadi Sameh, an opposition activist from Taramseh, left the village before the killings but was in touch with residents.

He said: ‘It appears that Alawite militiamen from surrounding villages descended on Taramseh after its rebel defenders pulled out, and started killing the people.

‘Every family in the town seems to have members killed. We have names of men, women and children from countless families.’

Massacre: More than 250 Syrians were killed yesterday when the village of Tremseh was shelled and stormed by what are thought to have been pro-government forces

Massacre: More than 250 Syrians were killed yesterday when the village of Tremseh was shelled and stormed by what are thought to have been pro-government forces

Ongoing conflict: Smoke hovers above Homs after the city was shelled earlier this week

Ongoing conflict: Smoke hovers above Homs after the city was shelled earlier this week

A detailed account by activists said a convoy of 25 vehicles carrying army and security forces, three armoured vehicles and five trucks mounted with artillery passed west through the town of Muharda and headed toward the village of Tremseh.

One reason given for the massacre was that government troops were attempting to take back the village from opposition hands.

Other reports said the village school was destroyed, and one of the victims was a doctor shot dead as he tried to help the wounded.

Death tolls are almost impossible to verify in Syria, but activists say more than 17,000 people have been killed since the uprising began.

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