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Syria intelligence report regarding chemical weapons - Background.



08/30/2013 - Washington D.C. ( USA ) - The Syrian regime maintains a stockpile of numerous chemical agents, including mustard, sarin,and VX and has thousands of munitions that can be used to deliver chemical warfare agents.Syrian President Bashar al-Asad is the ultimate decision maker for the chemical weapons program and members of the program are carefully vetted to ensure security and loyalty.

The Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) – which is subordinate to the SyrianMinistry of Defense – manages Syria’s chemical weapons program.We assess with high confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a smallscale against the opposition multiple times in the last year, including in the Damascus suburbs. This assessment is based on multiple streams of information including reporting of Syrianofficials planning and executing chemical weapons attacks and laboratory analysis of physiological samples obtained from a number of individuals, which revealed exposure to sarin.We assess that the opposition has not used chemical weapons.

The Syrian regime has the types of munitions that we assess were used to carry out the attack onAugust 21, and has the ability to strike simultaneously in multiple locations. We have seen noindication that the opposition has carried out a large-scale, coordinated rocket and artillery attack like the one that occurred on August 21.

We assess that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons over the last year primarily to gainthe upper hand or break a stalemate in areas where it has struggled to seize and hold strategicallyvaluable territory. In this regard, we continue to judge that the Syrian regime views chemicalweapons as one of many tools in its arsenal, including air power and ballistic missiles, whichthey indiscriminately use against the opposition.

The Syrian regime has initiated an effort to rid the Damascus suburbs of opposition forces usingthe area as a base to stage attacks against regime targets in the capital. The regime has failed toclear dozens of Damascus neighborhoods of opposition elements, including neighborhoodstargeted on August 21, despite employing nearly all of its conventional weapons systems. Weassess that the regime’s frustration with its inability to secure large portions of Damascus mayhave contributed to its decision to use chemical weapons on August 21.


 

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