Could Assad use chemical weapons?

A Syrian defector says it's a possibility

Published July 17, 2012 2:32PM (EDT)

Syria President Bashar al-Assad                              (AP)
Syria President Bashar al-Assad (AP)

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

Several days after Syria made headlines for moving its stockpile of chemical weapons, a senior Syrian politician that has defected to the opposition is now further stoking public fears about biological warfare. In an interview with BBC News, Nawaf Fares, Syria's former ambassador to Iraq, said that President Bashar al-Assad will not hesitate to use chemical weapons if he feels doing so is necessary: "I am convinced that if Bashar al-Assad's regime is further cornered by the people… he would use such weapons," Fares told the BBC.

Global Post

The interview comes three days after Syria began moving its collection of chemical weapons out of storage facilities. The move, reported by the Wall Street Journal, sent alarm through Washington. While American officials still can't agree what the move means, some officials fear that al-Assad will use the weapons against the rebels fighting his regime, or even against civilians, according to the WSJ. Damascus has one of the largest stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons in the Middle East, and Syria never signed the 1992 Chemical Weapons Convention, which outlaws production of such weapons.

Fares, the ex-ambassador, is the highest profile diplomat so far to leave al-Assad's regime and join the uprising, the Associated Press reported.

In his interview with the BBC, Fares described al-Assad as "a fully-fledged criminal like a wounded wolf." Fares also accused al-Assad of orchestrating major bombings across Syria, and claimed that unconfirmed reports show that Syria's chemical weapons may have already been used.

By Amy Silverstein

Amy Silverstein is an award-winning author, public speaker, and magazine writer on women’s health issues and patient advocacy. Her well-received first book, "Sick Girl," was published in three languages, won a “Books for a Better Life Award,” and was a finalist for the Border’s Original Voices Award. 

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Conflict Globalpost Human Rights Middle East Syria