Editor’s Note- As expected, much is happening, and at furious rate in Syria today, including this tweet regarding CW plans of the regime:
By Suleiman Al-Khalidi – Reuters
A senior Syrian military defector said President Bashar al-Assad’s forces were moving chemical weapons across the country for possible use in a military retaliation for the killing of four top security officials.
“The regime has started moving its chemical stockpile and redistributing it to prepare for its use,” said General Mustafa Sheikh, citing rebel intelligence obtained in recent days.
“They are moving it from warehouses to new locations,” he told Reuters in an interview in southern Turkey, close to the Syrian border. “They want to burn the country. The regime cannot fall without perpetrating a sea of blood.”
Syria’s 16-month conflict has been transformed since Wednesday, when a bomb killed four members of Assad’s narrow circle of kin and lieutenants, including his powerful brother-in-law, defense minister and intelligence chief.
Read the rest here. Meanwhile:
The U.S. Defense Department is trying to determine the likelihood that Israel could carry out pre-emptive air assaults on Syria’s chemical weapons facilities in order to head off the threat posed by such materials amid the intensifying internal effort to overthrow the Assad regime, CNN reported on Thursday (see GSN, July 19).
There have been major concerns since the Syrian uprising began last year that the government might use its chemical stocks against the resistance or that the situation might allow violent extremists to gain access to lethal blister and nerve agents. Those worries have escalated amid the mounting chaos, which is presently focused on the capital of Damascus.
The United States is concerned that Israel might decide it must unilaterally bomb Syria’s chemical arsenal if it determines it faces a direct danger from the situation, a high-ranking Obama official said in an interview with the news agency. (Read the rest here.)
After almost a week of intense battles in Damascus, the Syrian capital, fierce clashes between government security forces and armed rebels were reported Saturday in the northern city of Aleppo, Syria’s commercial hub.
A pro-opposition activist familiar with the situation in Aleppo described a rebel offensive that he said was inspired in part by the uprising in recent days in Damascus.
“These are the biggest clashes in Aleppo,” said the opposition activist, who goes by the name of Hashem Abu Muhammed. “The city will not calm down, the clashes will continue until they … liberate all of the neighborhoods.”
Insurgents seeking to oust President Bashar Assad appear intent on stretching the capabilities of government forces, who are already engaged in battles across vast swaths of Syria and on its far-flung borders with Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan.
The northern city of Aleppo had been mostly insulated from the violence raging elsewhere in Syria — although, as is the case in Damascus, restive suburbs have for months been centers of anti-government protest and armed rebellion.
Read the rest here.