Damascus: A day after intense fighting began in Syria’s second biggest city of Aleppo and other peaceful districts, the rebels claimed to having knowledge of the Bashar al-Assad regime’s chemical weapons.
According to reports, a number of videos to YouTube by Syrian activists suggests rebels are now shifting their focus on where the Syrian government stores its chemical weapons.
At the same time, a former senior Syrian Army officer, who was chief of staff of chemical warfare, has told reporters that technicians from Iran are assisting the regime`s research into chemical weapons.
He also suggested that the chemical weapons could be easily transferred by the regime to Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia organization that fought a border conflict with Israel in 2006.
The videos were first uploaded in July. Narrators using Google Earth satellite imagery describe in detail several sites where they allege that chemical weapons and missiles are stored or manufactured.
Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta yesterday claimed that the Syrian regime has moved some chemical weapons to safeguard the material as it wages war against rebel forces.
Panetta further assured that the regime’s main storage sites for its arsenal remain secure.
"There has been some intelligence that with regards to some of these sites there has been some movement ...In order for the Syrians to better secure the chemicals," Panetta told a joint news conference with his Canadian counterpart.
"We still believe, based on what we know and what we`re monitoring, that the principal sites remain secure," he said.
Asked if rebel forces had gotten their hands on some chemical stockpiles, Panetta said, "I don`t have any specific information about the opposition and whether or not they`ve obtained some of this or how much they`ve maintained."
Syria`s chemical weapons stockpile dates back to the 1970s and are the largest in the Middle East, but its precise scope remains unclear.
The regime has said it might use its chemical weapons if attacked by outside countries, although not against its own people.
With Agency Inputs