Syria has tested chemical weapons systems using tanks and helicopters.

German Weekly publication “Der Spiegel” has reported that witnesses have seen Syrian forces test firing chemical weapons systems at its research centre at Safira, east of Aleppo, in August.

According to the report, a total of five or six shells designed to deliver chemical agents were fired by both tanks and helicopters, at a site called Diraiham in the desert near to the village of Khanasir. The Safira site is thought to be Syria largest testing centre for chemical weapons, the official title is a “scientific research centre”.

The site is thought to house scientists from Iran and North Korea and according to western intelligence agencies they produce chemical agents such as Sarin, Tobun, and mustard gas.

Der Speigel says that during recent months the guards have been replaced and reinforced by more than 100 elite troops from the 4th Tank Division. Diesel powered generators to safe guard the electricity supply from sabotage from the rebels were delivered as well.

According to the report the rebels were quoted as saying “We hope American troops will secure the plant. We don’t want the regime to be able to use the weapons, but nor do we want them to fall into the hands of radicals after the downfall.”

The article doesn’t go into details with regards to the helicopters used to test the weapons but they could have been either the multi-role Mil Mi-8/17 Hip or the Mil Mi-25 Hind gunships, both capable to carry rockets that can theoretically be loaded with the chemical agent.

Richard Clements for

A Syrian Mil Mi-17 at the Tishreen War Panorama Museum, in Damascus (image by David Cenciotti)


  1. “We hope American troops will secure the plant.”

    Whaaaaaat? I want some of what the Syrian rebels are smoking!

    But seriously, what are they referring to? Are they talking about postwar peacekeeping forces? (Or is there something I’m not aware of?)

  2. Witnesses say – in other words “activists” say – or in other words the same people who have been repeatedly passing out complete b*llsh*t as facts to a corrupt mainstream media establishment whose idea of fact-checking is how many papers can we sell with this b*llsh*t…

    There is absolutely NO facts in this article, & as is with many of the “stories” in the MSM these days it consists of innuendo & unverified assertions by unnamed “witnesses”. No attempts made at context, background or anything that could be conceivably be journalism.

    Probably the only thing that can gleaned from this report is that the “rebels” & their supporters are now getting desperate as they see western support slipping away. They are now widely known to be associated with the same jihadist factions burning US embassies across the middle-east, & their major fighting groups are either Salafi or Syrian Muslim Brotherhood aligned.
    They need something to keep the weapons & money flowing, & ultimately NATO air-support if they are to win & set up the next Libya, because at the end of the day, they just don’t have much support amongst the majority of the Syrian people.

    This chemical weapons garbage has been floated for a while now as a means to get NATO intervention, & for the Syrian military to being doing chemical weapons tests now is blatantly ridiculous – they have plenty of conventional weaponry available to take fight the “rebels”, including most of the heavy stuff which has yet to be brought into play…

  3. The US/UK/NATO sponsored FSA Jihadis are desperate to draw in NATO boots on the ground and a no-fly zone. Probably more fiction than fact here. The US/UK have stated using chemical / biological weapons is a red line for Syria and Syria has said it would not use them on Syrians.

  4. As others have pointed out in the above comments, it is true that the rebels are trying to draw in some support by NATO, as well as the other side has drawn in the Iranians, but the chemical weapons issue in Syria is a serious matter. As I pointed out in a post back in March on Difesa24 and updated last week on my blog (sorry in Italian), the real nightmare scenario is that these chemical and biological weapons fall in the hands of some terrorist organization (or even the “rebels”).

    • Here here Ken. I wouldn’t have posted had yours been visible when I wrote as you say it all.
      I would like to respond to Andy. This ‘nightmare scenario’ is what is being risked BECAUSE of foreign intervention in the region in general not just Syria. It is like the powers that want to install their puppet regimes in Syria/Libya/Iraq etc and then move on to their ultimate goal, Iran, do not give a jot at the civilian cost if their so called ‘humanitarian interventions’ ‘accidentally’ bring out chemical weapons, in fact, it will give them more excuses to go in with more force. Many have been forecasting and expecting a false flag chemical incident if one doesn’t occur anyway. And the cost of all this is the lives of innocents and very likely many of our own forces young men and women too. All for corporate sponsored politicians sitting safely behind their desks! (forgive me but, It rightly makes some of us steam with rage!)

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