September 26, 2008

Paper Alleges Leak of Hezbollah-Stored Chemicals Damage Health of Lebanese

Text of report by Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Siyasah website on 25 September

[Unattributed report: "The Reason for Dangerous Diseases in Northern Lebanon, a Syrian Specialized Squad Treats the Leakage of Chemical Materials Stored by Hezbollah"]

Informed Lebanese sources have revealed to Al-Siyasah that a squad from the chemical war management section of the Syrian Army arrived in Lebanon two weeks ago consequent to an urgent order to sanitize one of the areas in northern Lebanon after it was contaminated with some chemical materials stored inappropriately by Hezbollah.

The sources clarified that the squad, headed by Major General Sa'id Khalil, specialized in treating leakage of chemical materials. It travelled immediately after entering the country by the Al-Masna border point in eastern Lebanon, accompanied by a Hezbollah element and another from the chemical war unit at the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, to one of Hezbollah's big camps in northern Lebanon, which is in an uninhabited area that can only be reached via rugged unpaved roads.

They indicated that immediately upon arrival, the Syrian squad located the area contaminated due to the leakage of the military chemical materials, which were stored inappropriately; the leakage resulted from the corrosion of a number of the barrels containing these materials.

The sources noted that Hezbollah succeeded at the beginning in controlling this leakage by special methods, on which they were trained in Syria and Iran, but they were unable to sanitize the wide area infected with these materials, which spread to some inhabited parts at the Al-Nabatiyah area.

This affected the residents negatively, particularly children, some of whom showed symptoms of fever, vomiting, and a black rash. Physicians were unable to attribute these symptoms to any known disease. They were also noted that the small concentration of these chemicals has a serious effect on children, because their damage is in reverse proportion with the weight of the infected human; meaning that when weight lessens, the effect increases.

The Lebanese sources added that the Syrian squad worked in cooperation with Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guard on examining the reasons of the leakage of these materials and asked Hezbollah elements to fully follow to their storage instructions in order to prevent the repetition of such incident. They said that Hezbollah elements were harmed by the leakage and they were taken to Iran for treatment, while their families were informed that they were dispatched for military training.

Originally published by Al-Siyasah website, Kuwait, in Arabic 25 Sep 08.

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