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Syrian Chemical Programme: Production and Storage Locations- Special Report

(Zaman Al Wasl-Special)- The second part of ‘Yellow Box’ documentary, Zaman Al Wasl reveals the production and storage locations, and the types of chemical gases produced which is under the supervision of the Air Force intelligence and the Republican Palace.

The documentary also reveals the ammunition carriers and the specialized tunnels used to store the ammunition, and the bases from which the weapons were launched to target, not an occupying or attacking force, but innocent civilians. 

Zaman al-Wasl obtained set of studies prepared by group of researchers in the Syrian Center for Scientific Study and Research which explain the establishment of the chemical weapons programme and its development.

The documentary charts the history of the program since has been established, the weapons used during the Syrian revolution to reach the handover agreement and the supposed dismantling of the deadly arsenal.

A data-rich report highlights the Chemical programme since its birth by the Soviet Union and how the Israelis were following up the developing process through its spies.

The Yellow Box documentary shows how the U.S. underestimated the Syrian chemical arsenal that later claimed lives of almost 2000 people in Eastern Ghouta in August 2013.

Is the Lebanese Hezbollah militia involved in the Eastern Ghouta Massacre? another question Zaman al-Wasl tries to answer in the three-part documentary.

Production and Storage of Chemical Weapons

According to a report delivered by the Syrian regime to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on September 13, 2013, the regime possesses 12 stable units to produce and store chemical weapons distributed throughout Syria, two mobile filling units and three institutions of a civilian nature. 

Institute 6000 (Barzeh Neighborhood north of Damascus) Branch 450 

Institute 6000 owns the most advanced laboratories and technical equipment that enable it to produce most of the primary materials that enter into the production of chemical precursors and activators. Strangely, the United Nations Committee did not engage in any operation to destroy or dismantle the Institute’s laboratories or equipment based on the excuse that their uses are circular.  

Unit 416 

Unit 416 is located south of the town of al-Safira, and it is considered one of the most important sites for Branch 450 and one of the most important factories for the production and development of chemical weapons in Syria. The Unit develops Mustard and Sarin Gas, and it is administratively subordinate to Brigadier General Samir Daaboul, responsible for the central and northern area. After emptying it and the warehouses subordinate to it of the material and handing these over to the United Nations Committee and destroying the other part of the material, the UN Committee detonated the main production site in the Unit to ensure that it will not return to operation. 

 Unit 417

2:24 Unit 417 is located in the Abu Ash Shamat area ( 43 miles east of Damascus). It is overseen by Brigadier General Ali Wannoos. Inside the Unit, there are hundreds of tons of chemical activators and precursors that enter into preparing Sarin, Tabun and Mustard Gas. A secret warehouse subordinate to the Unit takes the form of a massive underground tunnel located in the Jarwa Well area.

Unit 418 

Unit 418 is located 3 miles east of the town of al-Farjlus. It resembles Unit 417 in its architectural, administrative and technical planning as the two were established at the same time under the supervision of Russian experts. Unit 418 is also considered one of the most important warehouses for the storage of materials used to produce Sarin, Tabun and Mustard Gas. 

Brigadier General Samir Daaboul oversees the Unit and his office is located close to the Revolutionary Air Force Intelligence roundabout in Homs. 

Ali Center 

Ali Center is located northeastern the desert town of Dumayr, 30 miles east of Damascus, the site is a fortified and camouflaged area. A dirt barricade was constructed south of the Center to hide it from view on the Damascus-Palmyra road. 

Al-Nasiriya Khan Jenjil Center 

The al-Nasiriya Center is one of the production locations established in the southern region. It is located on the al-Nasiriya - al-Qaryatayn road north of the General Road on the lower part of the northern slope of the al-Maksar Mountain. The UN envoy destroyed the main production site in the Center to ensure it would not return to operation again. 

The Known Zouboaa and al-Mansoureh Center in al-Nabk

The Zoubaa location is considered one of the oldest chemical production sites in Syria and one of the largest. The site was established with the foundation of the program and its settlement. The Center was built in the form of large tunnels dug into the al-Nasiriya Mountains and work continued on the site for several years. However, the Syrian regime did not account for the injuries that started to appear on the crews working on the site due to the site’s location inside the mountains. 

Some of the injuries took the form of chronic respiratory problems which necessitated the site overseers to change the crews working on the site every six months. This issue also forced the project overseers to halt operations in the site on several occasions. 

The al-Masoureh site is located close to the former Zoubaa site and administratively subordinate to it. The site is distinguished by its proximity to the strategic hiding place of Scud missiles in the al-Nasiriya Mountains which makes it possible to prepare and equip the chemical warheads for these missiles in ready, equipped and fortified tunnels. 

Khan Unaybah Production Center 

Khan Unaybah site is considered the most important and dangerous chemical site in Syria due to its strategic geographical location as it is surrounded by three high, and almost deserted, mountain ranges extending between the al-Narsiriya and al-Qaryatayn Mountains. The site is surrounded by mountain ranges on its four sides. The site is far from any civilian activity where its only connection is to the Syrian Badiya. It is the site for the development and storage of the activators used to produce dangerous nerve gases including the BX gas. 

Jousiyah Unit (known as the Central)

The Central Unit is located west of the village Hasya in a mountainous region close to the town of Jousiyah. The Unit is secured by a branch of the Air Force Intelligence in Homs.

The Maliki Center is located south of the town of Adra. The Husun al-Bahar location in Tartus. The Latakia location close to the industrial city which is responsible for producing some of the aiding precursors related to Sarin gas. The Baniyas Refinery produces some of the roots that aid the production of chemical activators. The Homs Refinery also produces some of the roots that aid the production of chemical activators. The Phosphate Factory in Homs produces some of the essential roots used in the production of nerve related gases. 

7:40 Chemical activators need carriers or ammunition to reach enemy locations. These are launched on specific locations for them to explode and disperse the toxic substance achieving the required effect. There are many kinds of chemical warheads that carry these chemicals around the world. The warheads available to the Syrian regime can be limited to the following: 65 Scud missiles of the type Scud-B which can be loaded with Sarine gas. BM-21 Grad missiles which can be loaded with Sarine and Tabun gas and have been used to fire Mustard gas. These missiles leave patches of black residue in the launchers they were fired from, and these warheads are locally manufactured at present. BM-14 missiles which are some of the oldest ammunition found in Syria. These missiles were imported from the Soviet Union. The 130-millimeter artillery shells and 120-millimeter mortar rockets can be loaded with Mustard, Sarin, Chlorine or Tabun gas.

107-millimeter artillery shells were Korean produced originally but are presently produced in Syria.

Airplane rockets which are rockets that work by free fall. These can be transformed with any of the chemical agents including the VX agent into chemical warheads. Airplane rockets filled with Chlorine were imported from China and they were produced by the famous Chinese Conico company.

Suicide drone planes of the kind RAMI-2, have a small storage space which can be loaded with chemical substances. The drones were equipped with pouches, called beneficial pouches, which were previously manufactured by the Center for Studies and Research in Aleppo. Recently, the regime has engaged in producing short-range missiles such as the Fil missile which can be filled with Sarine, Mustard and Chlorine gas. 

The most important warehouses to store different ammunition of the most important warehouses to store ammunition is Warehouse 572 subordinate to the Missile Administration and located north of the town of al-Dumayr.

 The warehouse contains a specialized loading unit for Scud missiles in addition to several missiles that can be adapted to carry non-traditional warheads. The importance of the warehouse comes from its location close to the Ali Center, Unit 417 and Zoubaa Site.

Al-Sawanet Warehouse is a specialized site for launching Scud missiles with a warhead storage warehouse and a chemical storage unit close by. This is considered one of the locations fortified against airstrikes and large missile attacks because of its high fortification and its rocky nature. 

The armament Warehouse in al-Rahbet 639 in the town of al-Khatab is big enough to house 350 tons of diverse kinds of ammunition. 

Al-Thanaya Armament Warehouse is located close to the Homs-Damascus motorway before the town of al-Qatayfa. The locals know the site as al-Thanaya. Artillery shells and artillery missiles of the type 122-millimeter are stored here.

Armament warehouse 553 in Latakia close to the town of al-Shamiya, and it is one of the largest warehouses in the Syrian coastal region. The larger part of the warehouse stores normal ammunition. In addition to having loading equipment. 

Om Twaiqiya warehouses subordinate to the air force in Hama. Palmyra warehouse which is located north of the city of Palmyra. Al-Mazzeh Military Airport, is the site for a squadron of drone planes Rami-2, formed of 14 planes. The planes are called suicide planes and they are capable of carrying chemical weapons. These planes are identical to the Iranian RAED-1. The planes are overseen by the Colonel Mohammad Bilal, the brother of Brigadier Ghassan Bilal the office manager for Major General Maher al-Assad. 

Watch Part I

It’s been four years since the Syrian chemical attack on the embattled Eastern Ghouta suburbs near the capital that claimed lives of 1,400 people, mostly women and children.

They joined the convoy of martyrs which has continued to grow since Bashar Assad announced its war against the people who wanted to live in a country respects their rights in freedom of speech, equality and dignity.

Since August 21, 2013, the term CHEMICAL has entered everyday Syrian life, searches, questions and death as that was not the last attack of its kind, the same as it was not the first.

The studies indicate that the Soviet chemical technology was transferred to Syrians through coordination between the KBG and the Air Force Intelligence. The studies explain in detail the formation of units from centers, laboratories, experimental fields as well as identifying the types of chemical weapons manufactured and imported among other technical details. These details bring clarity to a complicated issue. Zaman al-Wasl TV has produced a documentary of three parts about this issue with the first presenting the Soviet relationship to the Syrian chemical weapons program as well as the story behind the liquidation of a large number of the scientists and officers involved in the programme.  

Zaman A Wasl
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