Evidence is mounting that the Assad regime used sarin nerve gas on rebel forces and civilians, killing hundreds of people.
United Nations chemical weapon experts were sent to investigate Monday, yet had to withdraw after their vehicles came under attack by snipers. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday it is “undeniable” that chemical weapons were used in Syria.
Syria has built its supply of chemical weapons with the help of several countries, particularly Russia, China, Iran, Iraq, and North Korea.
The Assad regime is now capable of producing and weaponizing chemicals for the weapons, yet relies on imports for the chemical ingredients, according to an Aug. 20 report from the Congressional Research Service.
“They’re getting a lot of shipments from both China and Russia,” said Terry Minarcin, a retired NSA agent.
According to Minarcin, Russia (and previously the Soviet Union) has sent shipments of chemical and biological weapons to Syria, Iraq, and parts of Lebanon since the Iran-Iraq War in the ’80s.
“China became involved because they were the go-between for North Korea and Iran for the development of missiles, and later on for some of the technology for making nuclear weapons,” he said.
Kerry Patton, an expert on terrorism and intelligence, and author of “Contracted: America’s Secret Warriors,” said that some of the weapons also came through Iraq.
“We do know Saddam [Hussein] did transfer some of his weapons from Iraq into Syria,” he said, noting also that chemical weapons have come through Russia, and from North Korea with China as the middle-man.
While it is known that the Assad regime maintains a supply of chemical weapons, the exact amount is unknown. “The regime of President Bashar al Asad reportedly has stocks of nerve (sarin, VX) and blister (mustard gas) agents, possibly weaponized into bombs, shells, and missiles, and associated production facilities,” states the Congressional Research Service report.