Security analysts in Ankara, Turkey, are facing a growing concern that the Syrian chemical weapons stockpile could be used by Assad’s forces or its military proxies against Turkish interests.
Syria is the only one of Turkey’s neighbors that is not a signatory to the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention. The specific nature or capacity of its stockpile remains unknown, as do the exact whereabouts of its weapons, according to TodaysZaman.com.
Estimates from the Turkish, Arab and Western intelligence agencies are that Syria possesses approximately 1,000 tons of chemical weapons, including mustard gas and nerve agents such as sarin and VX. These agents are thought to be located mostly within cities close to the Turkish border.
When David Petraeus, the head of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, visited Turkey in March, he spoke with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and senior Turkish military and intelligence leaders about the possibility that the weapons may be used by Assad’s forces in the near future. They also spoke about the possible transfer of these weapons to terrorist groups, either deliberately by Assad, or during a breakdown of the Assad regime, TodaysZaman.com reports.
Ankara has also voiced its concern that the Assad regime’s forces could use chemical weapons against besieged cities, triggering a massive wave of refugees seeking safety in Turkey.