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SYRIA/1: A LETTER FROM ASSAD'S GENERAL

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Part of the sizzling Syrian chemical arsenal will be taken out of commission abroad; one of the sites to be used for the destruction of the chemicals has been located near Tirana. The plan foresees the transfer by the end of the year from Damascus and Homs to the port of Latakia, from where it wil be shipped. The convoys would pass through Tartus.

“Hundreds of kilometers of very dangerous roads,” explains an informed source, commenting on a letter sent by representatives of Bashar al-Assad to Nihad Alihodzic, a high-level official with OPCW, the Organization for the Prohibitions of Chemical Weapons.

WikiLao has obtained a copy of the letter, signed by General Hassan al-Sharif. It contains a series of requests to ensure the safety of the sensitive cargo in its crossing to Latakia, “and without indicating either the suppliers or the costs,” though in other documents there are references to using “five hundred Syrian soldiers.”

Damascus is now asking for the assignment of eight platoons of thirty-five soldiers each, to be charged with protecting the convoys. It is clear, when reading the proposal, that the contingent should be ready for anything.

General al-Sharif's wish list includes ten armored vehicles, eighty-four four-wheel-drive vehicles, sixteen ready-made mobile towers, control systems with video cameras to monitor the whole route “on both sides of the road, for a width of five-hundred meters,“ a modern communications network,” and even the creation of a sort of command and control center in Damascus with twin operations-rooms in Homs, Tartus and Latakia.

Given the delicate nature of the materials to be transported, the General proposed it be stored in forty 15-ton armored trucks.
In order to be ready for any circumstance, according to the Syrians, ten chemical detectors, ten containers holding dozens of litres of water each, ten ambulances, and the same number of firetrucks will also be needed. And more: five cranes and five forklifts. The request includes thirteen electric generators, one of which with 300 KVA.
And for the comfort of the personnel, according to General al-Sharif, they would need thirty-two prefabricated buildings with rooms housing four, so the crew can rest, and eight field kitchens.

(Photo: REUTERS/Saad Abobrahim)

November 6, 2013