Former Russian head of CW Counter Intelligence gives his opinion on Syria's chemical threat

More bad news emerged from Syria in July, when its Minister of Foreign Affairs announced that the Syrian Army may use its chemical weapons (CW) against foreign intervention. He also stated that these weapons wouldn’t be used against Syrians, but are we really to believe this? As a CW scientist, who worked for 26 years in the State Scientific Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology (GosNIIOKhT) – the main developer of CW in Russia – I know that these weapons of mass destruction, first and foremost, usually harm and kill ordinary people who are neither protected nor trained. Military people are supposed to be well-trained, protected and supplied with antidotes and medical personnel. The dilemma is how to protect ordinary, Syrian civilians.

In this particular case, we are not dealing with untrained terrorists, who don’t have delivery systems for launching CW, but with organised and protected, military personnel whose delivery systems were developed and produced in Russia. It’s important to remember that during Soviet times the chemical officers of the Syrian Army were trained at the Military Chemical Academy in Moscow and in other military chemical colleges within the Soviet Union. As far as I know, the Soviets delivered CW, as well as the artillery systems for launching them, to Syria at end of 1980s. These particular CW are probably already obsolete and expired, but their delivery systems should be still capable of launching chemical attacks. It is very disturbing that even during Boris Yeltsin’s time in office, Russia was co-operating with Syria in the field of CW.

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