HACIPASA, Turkey – A senior Syrian military defector said President Bashar Al Assad’s forces were moving chemical weapons across the country for possible use in a retaliation for the killing of four top security officials.
“The government has started moving its chemical stockpile and redistributing it to prepare for its use,” said General Mustafa Sheikh, citing rebel intelligence obtained in recent days.
“They are moving it from warehouses to new locations,” he said in an interview in southern Turkey, close to the Syrian border. “They want to burn the country. The government cannot fall without perpetrating a sea of blood.”
Sheikh, who fled his post in the northern command of Assad’s army in January, said the coming days would see increased shelling of Damascus and Aleppo.
But unleashing a broader army assault would fuel an intense backlash by the rebels, he said. “The coming phase will witness a phase of bloodshed that is unprecedented and the government will resort to non-conventional weapons. Every action will trigger a bigger reaction,” he said.
Sheikh said the success of Wednesday’s bombing was the fruit of experience gained from months of conflict, rather than any fresh weapons supply.
“The weapons that are coming from outside are a drop in the ocean and are too trivial to make a difference,” he said.
The success of Wednesday’s attack surprised him, even though he was tipped by rebels over a month ago they were undertaking a top secret operation targeting Assad’s inner circle.