Washington, Sept. 19 – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad planned to provide chemical weapons to the Iranian proxy group Hezbollah to use directly against Syrian civilians and to potentially deploy against Israel.
Assad was planning to use the weapons as a “last resort” – in case rebels gained control of key cities such as Aleppo, according to Maj.-Gen. Adnan Sillu, a high-level military official who recently defected from Syria.
"We were in a serious discussion about the use of chemical weapons, including how we would use them and in what areas," Sillu said. The general, now in Turkey, said he fled Syria because of the chemical weapons plans.
Just last month, Syria reportedly tested delivery systems for its chemical weapons. The tests were conducted with the help of Iranians brought to Syria and performed near a chemical weapons research center. Both Iranians and North Koreans work at the research center, according to the report. Syria reportedly has the world’s third-largest supply of such weapons.
Syrian leaders in Assad’s circle also discussed delivering missiles equipped with chemical weapons to Hezbollah and other regional allies to attack Israel, Sillu said. The plan was aborted over fear of reprisals, he said.
But Sillu added, "Now, if they have nothing to lose, why not share these weapons?”
The fear that Assad would dip into his chemical weapons stockpile during such a ‘use em or lose em’ endgame has long been a fear of Western scenario planners, as has the possibility that he would give those weapons to allied groups such Hezbollah.
Hezbollah is backed by Syria as well as Iran, which trains, funds, and provides weapons to the terrorist group. Hezbollah controls southern Lebanon, from which it threatens Israel and Israeli civilians with an arsenal of around 60,000 rockets and missiles.
In 2006, Hezbollah sparked a month-long war against Israel when it launched a cross-border attack, killing eight Israeli soldiers and abducting two of the bodies.