Russians take control: “The chemical warfare threat looming over Syria’s civil war and its neighbors has taken an epic turn”
Russian forces take Syrian chemical, biological weapons under control
DEBKAfile Special Report December 22, 2012, 2:48 PM (GMT+02:00)
The chemical warfare threat looming over Syria’s civil war and its neighbors has taken an epic turn with the announcement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Saturday, Dec. 22, that “the Syrian government has “consolidated its chemical weapons in one or two locations amid a rebel onslaught and they are under control for the time being.” He added that Russia, “which has military advisers training Syria’s military, has kept close watch over its chemical arsenal.” debkafile’s military and intelligence sources report: The Russian foreign minister’s statement was a message to Washington that the transfer of Syria’s weapons of mass destruction to one or two protected sites was under Russian control. This had removed the danger of them falling into the hands of the al Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra ,which had come ominously close Friday, Dec. 21, when the Islamists spearheaded a Syrian rebel assault for the capture of the al-Safira military complex and Bashar Assad’s chemical and biological stores.
Lavrov did not go into detail about how this arsenal was removed and to which locations. But his reference to “Russian military advisers training Syria’s military” clearly indicated that Russian forces were directly involved in removing the WMD out of the reach of the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists. His assertion that they were “under control” indicated that Russia was also involved in safeguarding them.
debkafile’s Moscow sources add: Russia’s military intervention in the Syrian civil war achieved four objectives:
1. The prevention of Western or Israel military action for seizing control of Syria’s chemical and biological weapons arsenals;
2. The prevention of Western military intervention in the civil war behind the forces dedicated to the removal of Bashar Assad. The Russian military is now engaged in the dual mission of guarding his WMD arsenal and his regime;
3. The Russian military presence in Syria delivers a heavy swipe to the rebels;
4. Russia’s intervention and military presence have laid the groundwork for Moscow and Washington to work out an accord that will bring Syria’s civil war to an end.