As a French top court overturned a decision to dismiss charges brought against cement giant Lafarge for complicity in crimes against humanity in Syria's war, Zaman al-Wasl is calling on the french authorities to investigate about tonnes of hydrazine stock which were seized by the Islamic State in 2014 where the flammable liquid might have been used in the ISIS explosives-laden vehicles.
Lafarge's scandal was exclusively revealed by Zaman al-Wasl in February 2016 following investigative reports including well-informed sources, data and names of people involved. Such a scoop turned a hook to track Lafarge officials despite dropping Zaman al-Wasl as the main source by the Arab and foreign media outlets.
Read the original and first-ever reports published on Lafarge-ISIS deals:
The ruling by the Court of Cassation on September 9 marked a major setback for Lafarge, which is accused of paying millions of euros to jihadist groups including the Islamic State to keep its cement factory in northern Syria running through the early years of the country's war, according to AFP.
Zaman al-Wasl sources said that the hardline Islamic State fighters had seized tons of toxic Hydrazine after taking control of Lafarge Cement in Aleppo province in September 2014. Hydrazine is used in various rocket fuels and as a precursor for blowing agents.
Documents obtained by Zaman al-Wasl showed that Lafarge Cement had used to buy fuel and oil from the Islamic State in return.
Lafarge Cement Syria that was established in 2013 Jabliya town, 160 km northeast of Aleppo. The factory came under the control Kurdish YPG militia for several months before it fell to ISIS on September 19, 2014. The YPG managed to control the plant again in March 2015.
The fate of tonnes of Hydrazine seized by ISIS is still unknown.
At the time when the Islamic State controlled the plant of cement, it is expected it had had significant storage of Hydrazine which was used in Electricity generators, and ISIS seized the whole amount.
Sources revealed that Lafarge Cement Syria had illegally obtained Hydrazine from Turkey in 2013 via Jarablus crossing- point taking advantages of negligence in the Environment department, as the director of the department had forgotten reminding the manager Mamdouh Khalid about near run-out of Hydrazine, which forced the company to look for quick alternative to provide the material under circumstances of economic punishments against Syria regime, they found Turkish market the quickest source for Hydrazine.
In regard to the storage of Hydrazine in the plant after controlling it by the Islamic State, sources mentioned that fighters have uninstalled all equipment and took all parts from the plant, and transferred them to Raqqa, but no one knows what happened to Hydrazine, especially that the YPG fighters were not able to enter all parts of the plant, fearing that ISIS would have put explosive inside.
Hydrazine was not the only dangerous material in the French Cement plant, there was radiating materials inside many laboratory equipment as well as Gama matrix Device in the crasher and density measuring device, which all were under regular supervision by the Atomic Energy Commission in Syria. Sources confirm that no one has an idea about the fate of those devices and the radiating material inside them, as inexpert moving of those devices could distribute dangerous radiation and harm to people and the environment.
Hydrazine is an inorganic component that appears as a colorless flammable liquid with an ammonia-like odour. It is highly toxic and dangerously unstable unless handled in solution. It is mainly used as a foaming agent in preparing polymer foams, additionally, it is used in various rocket fuels and as a precursor for blowing agents. It is used within both nuclear and conventional electrical power plant steam cycles as an oxygen scavenger to control concentrations of dissolved oxygen in an effort to reduce corrosion.
Zaman Al Wasl