Syria's CBRN Weapons
Syria has amassed a large quantity of chemical and biological warfare
material that could be installed on warheads or Scud missiles
Arie Egozi 11/6/2012
What will happen with Syria’s arsenal of chemical and biological weapons?
This has become a major concern for the heads of Western intelligence
With Syria amassing a considerable quantity of chemical and biological
warfare material, intelligence agencies are concerned that some of the
groups participating in the Syrian civil war could access the stockpiles.
Intelligence elements agree that without state supervision, these materials
might find their way to terrorist organizations.
Yesterday, while commemorating 30 years since the battle of Sultan Yacoub,
the IDF’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Yair Naveh, commented on reports that
Syrian rebels had taken control of a Syrian airbase. Naveh said, “Syria
holds the largest stockpile of chemical weapons in our neighborhood, so we
mustn’t lose our alertness. Syria would do to us what it is doing to its
people, if it had the opportunity.”
According to assessments, Syria has already filled Scud missiles with
chemical warfare substances.
Chemical warheads are divided into two types: warheads containing one
substance, and warheads containing two substances. The first type generally
includes VX gas, and types of material from the same chemical group that
result in severe burns and breathing difficulties. The second group consists
of two materials, whose mixture results in a chemical reaction, and usually
includes GF or Sarin gas, both of which are extremely lethal.
In order for the warhead to achieve the largest possible effect, the
substance is dispersed at a height of several hundred meters above ground.
For this purpose, it is equipped with a height-sensitive device that can be
programmed to detonate a small explosive charge once the missile reaches a
specific height. This first explosion results in a chemical substance cloud
that disperses particles over a large area.
While the assembly of a chemical warhead is not a great technological
accomplishment, the storage and operation of such a warhead requires a
considerable amount of skill. Improper storage can result in disasters where
the warhead is stored. In addition, some of the chemical substances possess
qualities that corrode metal, which can damage the impermeability of
containers holding the substances inside the warhead. The assembly of the
missile and its launch preparation also greatly determines results.
According to intelligence, Syria also possesses a large quantity of
biological warfare materials. Biological weapons, referred to as a “poor man’s
nuclear bomb,” are often used in countries that lack nuclear capabilities.
These deadly bombs can come in the form of shells, air bombs, or
surface-to-surface missiles. Syria possesses all three forms of these
Divided into several groups, biological weapons are intended to hurt people,
livestock, and agriculture. Viruses and bacteria can result in a variety of
diseases, most of which are highly lethal. There are substances that cause
large blisters that result in pain akin to blisters caused by burns, as well
as substances that result in asphyxiation, which are similar to chemical
substances, but with a much stronger effect. There are biological agents
that damage the bloodstream and result in death within a relatively short
time. Various nerve agents are also considered biological warfare materials
by some experts, as they damage the body’s vital systems and cause a slow,