AFP is reporting that an international watch dog organization is probing claims that chlorine gas was used in an attack on an Islamic school in Syria. The Telegraph claims that soil samples from the site of three recent attacks provide conclusive evidence that the Assad regime is still using chemical weapons despite its agreement to hand over weapons stockpiles following an August attack on Damascus suburbs, which killed as many as 1400 people.
The UN Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has reported that 92.5 percent of Syria’s stockpiles of chemical weapons have been removed or destroyed. But this does not rule out the possibility that the remaining portions of the chemical arsenal have been put to use in the three-year-old civil war. What’s more, the 92.5 percent figure is only accurate if the Assad regime hasn’t received resupplies of chemical weapons from the foreign powers supporting it, namely Iran and Russia.
It is not known whether Iran has the capability to provide such weapons along with the military equipment and personnel that it has been delivering to the Assad regime on a regular basis. However, according to GlobalSecurity.org, Israeli intelligence suggested as recently as 2008 that Iran may have been holding onto secret stockpiles of chemical weapons. Furthermore, the extensive commercial chemical operations in the country could be utilized to produced weapons materials, as well.
Regardless of the source of the Syrian chemical weapons, the fact remains that if the most recent reports are accurate and Assad’s forces are still using chlorine gas against both military and civilian targets, the Iranian and Russian resupply missions have helped to prop up the government that issues those orders, which are in definite violation of the Geneva Conventions.