Report: Assad Didn't Give It All Up
Last year's mission to find chemical weapons controlled by Assad regime: inspectors
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2015 9:07 AM CDT
This file image made from video broadcast on Syrian State Television on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, purports to show a chemical weapons expert taking samples at a chemical weapons plant.   (AP Photo/Syrian State Television via AP video, File)
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(Newser) – Syria continues to have a substantial—and growing—chemical weapons arsenal despite an international mission to rid the country of such munitions last year, reports the Wall Street Journal. In an in-depth piece, the newspaper talks to the international inspectors and others involved in that much-hyped mission and concludes that Bashar al-Assad cheated. For one thing, Syria controlled where the inspectors went and what they saw. The result was a "chain of misrepresentations" to hide the true extent of the arsenal and to allow weapons-makers to keep churning them out.

Yes, the Syrian regime did turn over weapons—in fact, about 1,300 metric tons of weapons-grade chemicals— but "US intelligence agencies have concluded that the regime didn't give up all of the chemical weapons it was supposed to." In addition to chlorine, US officials think Assad also hid supplies of deadlier nerve agents. That may not come as a huge surprise, but the Journal points out one big reason why concern is growing: As the Islamic State and al-Qaeda continue to make gains against the Syrian army, the chances rise that a desperate Assad will start using his chemical weapons, or that the entire arsenal will fall into the hands of ISIS. Click to read the full article.