Report: Syria Preparing Chemical Weapons

Assad orders military to be ready to use sarin, says NBC
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2012 6:41 PM CST
In this Sept. 23, 2012, photo, a Syrian army jet is seen after attacking a residential area near the Dar al Shifa hospital in Aleppo, Syria.   (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo)

(Newser) – Syria's Bashar al-Assad is edging closer to using chemical weapons against his own people, reports NBC News. It quotes US officials as saying that Syria's military has begun loading the necessary components for sarin gas into bombs. The good news is that the bombs have not been loaded onto planes, and it's possible Assad will keep it that way. For now, he's ordered the military only to "be prepared" to use the poison gas, say intelligence officials.

Concern about the chemical stockpile has grown this week as developments on the ground worsen for Assad. President Obama issued a warning on Monday, and Hillary Clinton reiterated it today, reports the New York Times. "Our concerns are that an increasingly desperate Assad regime might turn to chemical weapons or might lose control of them," she said at NATO headquarters in Brussels. She added that a political transition must start "as soon as possible." The US still hasn't formally recognized the Syrian opposition, but that could happen as early as next week when Clinton meets its leaders in Morocco. (Read more Syria stories.)

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