International troops could be forced to intervene in Syria if the collapse of President Bashar al-Assad's regime were to leave stockpiles of his chemical weapons vulnerable to terrorists, western diplomatic sources have told the Daily Telegraph.
Syria possesses hundreds of tons of VX, Sarin and mustard gas. Western governments are concerned about the security of these munitions if Mr Assad's regime falls or loses control over the relevant sites.
"The thing that privately has got people very worried is chemical weapon stocks," said the diplomat. "Were it to be the case that the regime did start to lose control of the security environment, and it looked as though it wasn't able to secure those sites, then that would be a game-changer."
Iran is smuggling weapons to Damascus and Beirut via commercial aircraft, according to a report aired Wednesday by German broadcaster ZDF.
The report cited Western security sources and other unspecified information that the TV station had obtained.
The type of weaponry transported was not mentioned, but the shipments were apparently paid for by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, which supports the Bashar Assad regime in Syria and the terror organization Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Two carriers were implicated in the report, Iran Air and Yas Air.
Iran's Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari says the country will step up the production of missile-launcher vessels for its naval fleet.“All the equipment needed for the Navy, including missile-launcher vessels and communication devices, will be produced rapidly by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (started March 20, 2012),” he said n Wednesday.
Iran has razed two buildings near a suspected nuclear-trigger test site inside of its sprawling Parchin military complex.
Satellite images taken on May 25 confirm the destruction of two buildings IAEA inspectors have sought access to were published on Wednesday by the Institute for Science and International Security.
“These activities raise further concerns of Iranian efforts to destroy evidence of alleged past nuclear weaponization,” the Washington-based ISIS said in a six-page written analysis.
Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon on Wednesday said "Iran is deceiving the West all the way to a bomb."
For "the last three months, while it talks with world powers, Tehran has significantly accelerated the pace of Iranian nuclear enrichment, Yaalon said at an Institute for National Security Studies conference in Tel Aviv
“I see no evidence whatsoever that Iran is ready to end its nuclear program,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said shortly before last week's talks in Bagdad.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak also told reporters last week he was "skeptical" that Iran was serious and charged Tehran was using the talks to buy time for nuclear weapons research.
Golan warned that the battle being waged in Syria between opponents of the Assad regime and Assad loyalists may have an effect on what is happening in Israel.
“Al-Qaeda related factors that are active there now and working against the regime may operate against us over time,” he said, according to the Channel 2 report. “The Syrian threat to Israel requires attention. It will not happen tomorrow morning, but it can occur within a few months.”
Golan added, “Syria has weapons of mass destruction along with a very heavy arsenal of weapons, including surface-to-ground missiles and chemical weapons. The fact that Syria is a storehouse of weapons which fuels terrorists in the region is very unsettling.”
He noted that, should the need arise for the IDF to launch a military operation in Syria, “The IDF has the power to take over the rocket launching areas that threaten the homefront in a relatively short period of time and bring about the defeat of Hizbullah in each such area.”