LONDON (Nov. 23)
The Sunday Telegraph reported Sunday that Libya has given Syria deadly nerve gas weapons, traceable to the Soviet Union, which could be used with devastating effect on Israel’s main cities.
The report, by the newspaper’s defense correspondent, cited Western intelligence sources for the information. According to the writer, the Syrians can use the nerve gas warheads on their Soviet-made SCUD missiles.
The chemical warheads could kill everyone within a 25-mile radius and render a city uninhabitable for about 24 hours after the attack, the Telegraph report said. The SCUD is a vehicle-launched surface-to-surface missile with a range of more than 160 miles. Until now, SCUDs in the arsenals of Libya, Syria and Iran were thought to be armed with conventional warheads in contrast to the Soviet weapons which are nuclear-armed.
According to the Telegraph, possession of a long-range chemical warfare capability will give Syria “a huge advantage” over Israel in any future conflict. Fired from the Golan Heights, a SCUD armed with a chemical warhead could devastate the population of any Israeli city … There will be immense pressure on Israel for a preemptive strike,” the Telegraph said.
Israel is said to be “fully aware” of the Syrian weapon and has carried out military exercises in nuclear-chemical-biological protective clothing.