“At the moment, [Syria’s] chemical weapons are under control,” said senior Israeli defense official Amos Gilad Sunday, Dec. 23, echoing the statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Saturday that “the Syrian government has “consolidated its chemical weapons in one or two locations amid a rebel onslaught and they are under control for the time being.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu then said enigmatically: “We are facing a near possibility of far-reaching changes in the Syrian regime with ramifications for the sensitive weaponry [chemical, biological] present there.”
Like Lavrov’s comments, neither Israeli statement accounted for the sudden reversal of events in the last 48 hours in the turbulent history of its northern neighbor. As recently as Friday, Bashar Assad’s Scuds and warplanes were battling the rebels to keep his big chemical and biological warfare arsenals at the Al Safira complex near Aleppo out of the hands of al Qaeda adherents who were moving in fast on this target.
Twenty four hours later, the Russian foreign minister asserted the weapons were secure.
DEBKAfile’s military sources disclose that the battle of al Safira was abruptly interrupted by a foreign military force which stepped in and stopped the fighting in order to commandeer the chemical and biological stocks.