September 29, 2012 - 11:44 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - A series of videos uploaded to YouTube by Syrian activists suggests rebels are beginning to focus on where Bashar al-Assad's regime stores its chemical weapons, CNN reports.
At the same time, a former senior officer in the Syrian Army who says he was chief of staff of chemical warfare said that Iranian technicians are helping with the regime's research into chemical weapons. He also said they could be easily transferred by the regime to Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia organization that fought a border conflict with Israel in 2006.
The videos were first uploaded in July. Narrators using Google Earth satellite imagery describe in detail several sites where they allege that chemical weapons and missiles are stored or manufactured.
Of the several videos posted, the most detailed is about a military installation southwest of Damascus in al-Mazzeh, where a large military airport is situated.
An unnamed narrator says: "The chemical warehouse is connected with an underground tunnel that goes to the airport." The narrator identifies what appears to be the tunnel's exit. He says the tunnel is large enough to accommodate trailers.
He says the warehouse is highly fortified with reinforced concrete that would be difficult to penetrate, even with cruise missiles. The area is called "Mezeh-86 and no-one can get in or out of it," he adds.
The narrator also claims there are "experts from North Korea and Iran" housed in a building close by.
In another of the videos, a narrator identifying himself as Abou Sayyad uses Google Earth to illustrate an area between two settlements close to Damascus - Al-Tal and Ish Al-Warwar. He describes the area as mountainous with poor roads. Zooming in, he points to an area that appears to show tunnels off a main road.
"This is a network of tunnels deep in the mountains that is secured against chemical and nuclear attacks where chemical and biological weapons are stored," he says.
He says that the tunnels are split into storage facilities -- some of them up to 500 meters (1,640 feet) inside the mountain -- that are in turn separated in case of an accident or explosion.
Another video zooms in on another area northeast of Damascus - and highlights a barrier said to be made of dirt running alongside the highway. In the eight-minute video, the narrator says that to the north of the highway is a chemical weapons storage facility "where experts from Iran and North Korea are present."
He also claims part of the area had been sprayed with a highly reflective material to prevent satellites from capturing clear images.
The videos were uploaded by the Saned News Network - an anti-regime activist group.
The Syrian government has repeatedly denied that its chemical weapons are at risk or would be deployed.