Syria's chemical weapons may land in the lap of Hizbollah

Control of large stockpiles of chemical weapons manufactured and held by the Syrian army is a major concern for Israel following a possible breakdown of control by the Assad regime.

While they have never used them on the battlefield, the Syrians are known to have manufactured, with North Korean and Iranian assistance, large quantities of chemical agents, mainly nerve gas such as Sarin and VX. These are held in a number of locations around the country. The chemicals are placed in artillery shells and stored in heavily guarded storage bases, to be distributed to artillery regiments during wartime.

Syria is the principle supplier and conduit of arms to Hizbollah in Lebanon, and while it is believed that it is yet to supply them with chemical weapons, this could happen if the Assad regime is about to fall or if chaos reigns in Syria following his ousting from power.

Similar developments occurred in Libya in recent months when arms plundered from abandoned army depots found their way to terror groups in Sinai and the Gaza Strip. Hizbollah is already reported to have moved some of the long-range missiles it stores in Syria closer to the Lebanese border.

Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, said last week in an interview with the Wall Street Journal: "We are very concerned about the status of Syria's WMD, including chemical weapons. Together with the US administration, we are watching this situation very carefully."

Last updated: 1:05pm, September 1 2011