Established by Fathi Ibrahim Bayoud 2005 - Homs

Head deputy of Army's Chemical College killed in suspected Israeli airstrike

Special Reports | 2018-02-17 15:15:00
Head deputy of Army's Chemical College killed in suspected Israeli airstrike
(Zaman Al Wasl)- The funeral of senior regime general worked in the Syrian chemical weapons program has sparked a storm of speculations about the circumstances surrounding his death. Various rumors surround his death as some say he was killed in military confrontations and others that he was killed in one of the recent Israeli airstrikes on several regime sites. 

While the regime held the funeral for Major General Ahmed Mehdi Hussaino, the Deputy Director of the Chemical Warfare College and its Chief of Staff, his activities in his final days were shrouded in the extreme secrecy leading to a stream of speculation and guesses. In a bid to bring the truth to light, Zaman Al Wasl obtained information confirming that Hussaino did not die on the battlefields, but of a heart attack. 

Hussaino is from the village of al-Zinbaqi in the Drakush district of Jisr Ash Shughur, a village with a small number of inhabitants which is now outside regime control. Hussanio was buried in the martyrs cemetery in Lattakia, without ceremonials. He died on Tuesday and was buried Wednesday. Perhaps his ordinary death, far from the fronts, is the reason he was buried with such little ceremony.

Until his death, Hussaino he was the Deputy Director of the Chemical Warfare College, which is a sensitive position that allowed him to participate, supervise and review many of the plans and procedures used by the regime in the chemical file. Hussanio must have been privy to the regime’s chemical weapon plans especially after the deal for the regime to hand over these weapons was struck in autumn 2013 following the terrible massacre in Eastern al-Ghouta in August 2013.

Despite a large number of sanctions issued here and there against senior regime officers for war crimes, Hussaino’s name was not included on any sanction list which raises many questions about the lists ability to identify and document regime criminals. Hussaino’s name remaining unlisted also highlights the regime’s ability to hide its key men away from any spotlight, no matter how small, and deceive the international community about the importance of its other agents. 

The regime changing the Chemical Warfare College’s name to the Chemical Protection College did not affect its role. This military establishment still educates and graduates officer crews (holding rank of officer) who in turn work as chemical specialists with the regime army. According to Zaman al-Wasl’s sources, many of this College’s students insist on referring to it as the Chemical Warfare College in a direct dismissal of its new name. 

The regime changing the college’s name after it was the Chemical Warfare College for decades on October 05, 2013 is both pathetic and interesting as it was the regime’s way to present itself as having given up all its chemical weapon activities. The emphasis on Chemical Protection College was a way to indicate the regime’s peaceful nature and its sole concern with executing preventative measures to protect from chemical warfare. 

It is remarkable that this obvious step in its form and content, along with other formal measures, was sufficient for major powers to recognize the “credibility” of the regime. This recognition came despite basic facts and statistics revealing the regime’s lies, and in turn, indicate that superpowers either neglected these details or work in collusion with the regime. 

According to the Syrian Human Rights Network’s latest report, Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against the Syrian people more than 211 times, since the start of the revolution until February 2018.

Most of the chemical attacks came after Security Council Resolution 2118 (autumn 2013) was passed. Resolution 2118 included several provisions concerning the chemical weapons file including the disarmament and dismantling of the regime’s chemical capabilities, prohibiting any party in Syria “to use, develop, produce, possess, store, retain or transfer chemical weapons.”

In the months and years following the issuing of the UN resolution, the regime launched 178 chemical attacks (out of 211), so nearly 85% of all chemical attacks.

The Chemical Warfare College is located in the area of Ain Al-Nisr a few kilometers from Ain Al-Nisr village in Homs’ eastern countryside and 23 kilometers north-east of Homs city. 

According to official records, the College is located in an area known as the Mohammed Nasr Camp and it is adjacent to the Military Engineering College which can be considered the “landmine school” in the regime's army.

One thing that cannot be overlooked when reviewing the Chemical War College history is that Hafez al-Assad issued a decision to move it to its current location in 1985 to ensure that these sensitive facilities exist in an area of pro-regime, sectarian, villages.

Hussaino is the second Deputy Director for the Chemical War College who has died in recent years. His death follows that of Brigadier General Nayel Yousef al-Dakhil, who was assassinated on September 26, 2011. At the time, the regime accused “armed terrorist groups” of killing him while he drove from the College to his village of Zidel.

Zaman Al Wasl
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