Report of Syrian Regime Testing Chemical Weapons in Safira: Iran's Revolutionary Guard Present
Magazine Der Spiegel has reported that Syrian security forces carried out a series of tests on a chemical weapons delivery system at the end of August near the country's largest chemical weapons research center in the northwestern town of Safira, some 30km from Aleppo. Witnesses told the German publication that the Syrian army fired 5 or 6 empty shells capable of carrying poison gas under the watchful eyes of officers believed to be members of the Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Syria is believed to have one of world's largest chemical weapons arsenals and Western nations have warned that their use by Assad's forces would constitute a 'red line' which if crossed would call for immediate military intervention. Israel has also expressed fears that chemical weapons could fall into Islamist militant hands and has threatened an accelerated military response if this happens. Recently Damascus moved a large part of its chemical reserves to Russian-controlled storage areas in the Mediterranean port city of Tartus, adding fuel to Western fears that the arms could fall into the hands of Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.