Syria loading chemical weapons into bombs: report

Updated 06 December 2012
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Syria loading chemical weapons into bombs: report

WASHINGTON: The Syrian military has loaded precursor chemicals for the deadly nerve gas sarin into aerial bombs and is awaiting final orders from President Bashar Assad, NBC News reported Wednesday.
If confirmed, the move would mark a step further in Syria’s progression toward possibly using chemical weapons.
US officials told NBC News that the loaded aerial bombs could be dropped onto the Syrian people from dozens of fighter jets.
But they stressed that the sarin bombs had not yet been loaded onto planes and that Assad had not yet issued a final order to deploy them. However, if he goes ahead, “there’s little the outside world can do to stop it,” one official said.
CNN reported that the Israeli, Jordanian, Lebanese and Turkish intelligence services were in close contact with their US counterparts to decide on the next steps.
The Syrian government, fighting to prevent the capital Damascus from falling to rebel forces, has insisted it would never resort to chemical weapons.
But a US official told AFP on Tuesday that Syria had begun mixing chemicals that could be used to make sarin, while CNN reported Damascus could use the gas in a limited artillery attack on advancing rebels.
Washington fears that battlefield advances by rebels could prompt Assad to use chemical arms, or that such stocks could become insecure or find their way into the hands of groups hostile to the United States and its allies.
US President Barack Obama on Monday warned Assad of “consequences” if he uses chemical weapons against his own people, in a new warning as the conflict approaches the 21-month mark with more than 41,000 people killed.


UN says calls for preservation of Iran nuclear deal

Updated 47 min 15 sec ago
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UN says calls for preservation of Iran nuclear deal

  • The statement comes just weeks before Trump’s May 12 deadline for his European allies to agree to toughen up the terms of the agreement

GENEVA: The top UN disarmament official urged parties to the Iran nuclear deal on Monday not to abandon it, just weeks before US President Donald Trump’s May 12 deadline for his European allies to agree to toughen up the terms of the agreement.

“We hope that all of its participants remain fully committed to its implementation and long-term preservation,” UN High representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu told a UN nuclear non-proliferation conference, hours before Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron hold talks in Washington.

Meanwhile. French President Emmanuel Macron urged Trump on Sunday to stick with the Iran nuclear deal, saying there is no better option. 

Trump has demanding that signatories to the deal agree permanent restrictions on Iran's uranium enrichment. Under the current deal they are set to expire in 2025.