19 Sep 2007

Dozens Killed During Syrian-Iranian WMD Test

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The Jerusalem Post reports:

Proof of cooperation between Iran and Syria in the proliferation and development of weapons of mass destruction was brought to light Monday in Jane’s Defence Weekly, which reported that dozens of Iranian engineers and 15 Syrian officers were killed in a July 23 accident in Syria.

According to the report, cited by Channel 10, the joint Syrian-Iranian team was attempting to mount a chemical warhead on a Scud missile when the explosion occurred, spreading lethal chemical agents, including sarin nerve gas. …

Syria is not a signatory of either the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), – an international agreement banning the production, stockpiling or use of chemical weapons – or the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

AFP:

Iranian engineers were among those killed in a blast at a secret Syrian military installation two months ago, defence group Jane’s said Wednesday after claiming that the base was being used to develop chemical weapons.

The July 26 explosion in Aleppo, northern Syria, was reported at the time. The official Sana news agency said 15 Syrian military personnel were killed and 50 people were injured, most of them slightly from flying glass.

The agency said only that “very explosive products” blew up after fire broke out at the facility and that the blaze was not an act of sabotage.

But in the September 26 edition of Jane’s Defence Weekly, Syrian defence sources were quoted as saying the explosion happened during tests to weaponise a Scud C missile with mustard gas, which is banned under international law.

Fuel caught fire in a missile production laboratory and “dispersed chemical agents (including VX and Sarin nerve agents and mustard blister agent) across the storage facility and outside.

“Other Iranian engineers were seriously injured with chemical burns to exposed body parts not protected by safety overalls,” the publication quoted the sources as saying.

Among the dead were “dozens” of Iranian missile weaponisation engineers, it added.

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