and the United States are closely monitoring Syria's
suspected weapons of mass destruction due to concerns that terror groups could take advantage of the unrest in the country to seize chemical arms and long-range missiles, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
According to the report, US intelligence services estimate that Syria's nonconventional weapons arsenal includes stockpiles of mustard gas, VX and Sarin gas, as well as the the missile and artillery systems to deliver them.
"We are very concerned about the status of Syria's WMD, including chemical weapons," Israel's Ambassador to the US Michael Oren told the newspaper. "Together with the US administration, we are watching this situation very carefully." A senior US official added that Syria's suspected chemical weapon program "is of great importance and...under intense study."
According to current and former US officials, Syria produces chemical-weapons agents at least five sites, which are scattered in large urban centers the likes of Latakia and Damascus – making them difficult to track. Some of the production sites are located near army bases storing Scud missiles.
While the US officials said there is no indication that Syrian President Bashar Assad's
regime transferred chemical weapons to Hezbollah
they are worried that this situation could change if the unrest in Syria continues.
As Syrian protesters continued to rally nationwide against Assad, regime forces continued to brutally fight back – killing 12 people on Friday. The opposition forces have drawn support of nations around the world, including Israel.
"We see a lot of opportunity emerging from the end of the Assad regime," Oren told the Wall Street Journal.
In February, the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) reported
that Syria established four additional nuclear facilities aside from the one bombed by Israel in 2007. According to the report, Syria's nuclear program was far more advanced than previously believed and included, in addition to the reactor destroyed at al-Kibar, a uranium conversion facility and three storage sites.
Western diplomats said in May that Russia is making efforts
to suppress a UN report that says Iran has been breaking a UN arms embargo by shipping weapons to Syria, a measure they labeled as "an effort to protect Bashar Assad"