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hezbollah paradeSyrian opposition activists accused Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group of using chemical weapons again in collaboration with the Syrian regime in rebel-held areas.

Abou Mohammed Al-Assi, a member of the Free Syrian Army’s military council, did not rule out Hezbollah’s possession of chemical arms because the regime owns such weapons.

“It was proved that chemical (arms) were used in some neighborhoods of Aleppo and Ghouta, areas which have a clear Hezbollah presence,” Al-Assi told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

“It’s normal for the party to own chemical weapons because it is leading the battle alongside the regime in several areas,” he said.

Although the Syrian regime has claimed that it has handed over all its chemical weapons, there is information that is has hidden some of the arms.

A report carried by the American Stratfor global intelligence company has quoted eyewitnesses as saying that Hezbollah has had suspicious activities in the area of al-Qalamoun.

According to satellite imagery shown by Stratfor Hezbollah has built up significant defensive positions near the Syrian town of Al-Qusair.

It said the group intends to stockpile artillery there.

Additionally, sources said there are as many as four separate munitions factories at the base.

Stratfor’s sources have referred specifically to the presence of different types of Iranian ballistic missiles, including the Shabab-1, Shahab-2 and Fateh-110 .

Military experts said that Hezbollah’s operations in Marj Al-Tall are also a clear indication that a chemical facility has been built under its management.

Following its success in blockading the city of Al-Zabadani, Hezbollah also upgraded a huge tunnel network that links Lebanon with Syria through the eastern border.

Hezbollah has resorted to Syria to build such unconventional facilities after it failed to do so in Lebanon as a result of the difficultly of the terrain.

A high-ranking Syrian opposition member raised doubts about Hezbollah’s ability to own chemical weapons.

Israel will not allow such arms to reach Hezbollah’s hands, he said.

But the unnamed opposition member told Asharq Al-Awsat that this does not mean the party would not try to add such weapons to its arsenal.

“The party and the regime have advanced smuggling networks between Lebanon and Syria. But the question remains whether they could evade Israeli monitoring,” he said.

Asharq Al-Awsat

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