Syria's Chemical Weapons

Source: Getty
TV/Radio Broadcast BBC Wales
Syria is widely believed to possess weapons of mass destruction, in particular a large chemical weapons arsenal.
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Carnegie's Paul Schulte spoke to BBC Wales about the situation in Syria, where 40,000 people have died since the uprising began in March last year. Schulte pointed out that it is very widely believed that Syria possesses weapons of mass destruction and that the United States claims to have sufficient intelligence on specific chemicals.

"It's most likely that they [Syria] have a quite large chemical arsenal because they have been doing this over a number of years, and even apparently in the last few months they have been trying to build up their stocks," Schulte said, adding that the chemicals in the arsenal would "be in different stages of preparation."

But the new news, Schulte pointed out, is that specific chemicals are being brought together to make an extremely modern and potent nerve gas called sarin. "We might be entering an endgame of a civil war in which atrocity becomes almost unavoidable because of the fear of reprisals," said Schulte, adding that "nobody is very attracted by the idea of getting drawn into a Syrian civil war."

To Schulte, the deployment of Patriot missile batteries along the Turkish border with Syria is about reassuring the Turks who "are in the front line of this very difficult situation." "It's a way of NATO emphasizing its solidarity," Schulte concluded.

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In Fact



of Brazilian protesters

learned about a massive rally via Facebook or Twitter.


million cases pending

in India’s judicial system.

1 in 3


now needs urgent assistance.


political parties

contested India’s last national elections.


of Egypt's labor force

works in the private sector.


years ago

Carnegie began an internship program. Notable alumni include Samantha Power.


of oil consumed in the United States

is for the transportation sector.


of Chechnya’s pre-1994 population

has fled to different parts of the world.


of oil consumed in China

was from foreign sources in 2012.


of Syria’s population

is expected to be displaced by the end of 2013.


million people killed

in Cold War conflicts.


of the U.S. economy

is consumed by healthcare.


billion in goods and services

traded between the United States and China in 2012.


billion in foreign investment and oil revenue

have been lost by Iran because of its nuclear program.


increase in China’s GDP per capita

between 1972 and today.


billion have been spent

to complete the Bushehr nuclear reactor in Iran.


of Iran’s electricity needs

is all the Bushehr nuclear reactor provides.


new airports

are set to be built in China by 2015.



were imprisoned in Turkey as of August 2012 according to the OSCE.


of the world's population

will reside in cities by 2050.


million Russian citizens

are considered “ethnic Muslims.”

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