Report: Syria fitting fighters with chemical weapons

Syria’s air force has retrofitted MiG-21 fighters with remote flight systems and the capability to carry chemical weapons, according to a Flight Global report.

The evidence was found in June 2012 when a Syrian pilot flew a MiG-21 from Syria to King Hussein airport in Jordan. Analysts found the MiG-21 could be flown remotely and could “carry and dispense a ‘deadly volume’ of chemical warfare agents,” according to Flight Global’s report.

President Obama has said that the use of chemical weapons would force the U.S. to get involved with the Syrian civil war. A report of retrofitting a MiG-21 goes along with other reports of additional activity at the sites where the Syrian army stocked their chemical weapons like the deadly nerve agent, Sarin.

The details on the system built onto the MiG-21 to carry chemical weapons are not known. It was expected the Syrians could simply adapt bombs to carry and dispense chemical weapons and make sure the explosive distribute and not destroy the chemical agents.

It’s also fascinating to read that they could build a remote system into a MiG-21 fighter. That is a not a simply feat for an air force like Syria’s. They Syrian military is known for their air defense network, not their unmanned flight capabilities.  Again, it will be interesting to monitor how effective that system might be and how it works.

Flight Global’s Stephen Trimble reported how the evidence of the Syrians adapting their fighters to carry chemical weapons is making the Israelis nervous. Israeli Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel has said the Israelis are preparing themselves “with potential threats” to include chemical weapons “flowing” out of Israel.

About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to Military.com. He can be reached at mhoffman@tandemnsi.com.
  • Mark

    Why dont we just send a sniper team in and take his ass out already and call it a day.

    • Prodozul

      Odds are he’s in a bunker somewhere…

    • SJE

      Its not like Libya.

      The Alawites, Alevis, Jews, Druze, Shia and Christians were treated like sh#t for centuries by the Ottomans, who were Sunni. The Alawites are now on top, and are supported by all the other minorities who are afraid. They have good reason to be afraid: there are a lot of Sunni jihadis funded by the Gulf states, Al Queda people etc, who have been fine slaughtering Alawites.

      It took billions of $US and US lives to quell the relatively more simple problems of Iraq, where there were only 3 main groups, and they were more geographically separated. In Syria, there are many groups living right on top of each other.

      Then there are the neighbors have their own religious and ethnic problems which would blow up if they intervened in the wrong way. e.g. Turkey still treats its Kurds and Alevis as second class citizens. Lebanon has three main groups. Israel is not exactly peaceful. Iraq is just getting back on its feet. Iran is trying to build nukes….. etc.

      • blight_

        Essentially correct; but the Kurds live in Syria, Iraq and Turkey. Incidentally, Kurdish areas of Turkey are the ones that used to be full of Christians before the Genocide-That-Never-Happened.

        • SJE

          There are also Kurds in Iran. Christians and Jews used to be spread throughout the Ottoman empire.

    • tiger

      “WE?” Uh, Mark If you care that much about Syria; you can hop a plane to Turkey & join the fun.

    • Menzie

      Umm, because it is not just one man the regime is made of. There are many family members, also Christian groups are on his side, etc etc etc.

    • sargmack

      not that simple . i wish it was.

  • Charley A

    “…chemical weapons flowing out of Israel.” Shouldn’t it be out of Syria?

    • a guest

      looks like a mis-read, from linked flight-global article :

      ” […] “We don’t know what will happen the day after Assad falls,” he says. “We are preparing ourselves for this, and for the eventuality of weapons flowing out of Syria.” ”

      a question on the context of the quote, was the air force commander responding to issue of syria’s chemical weapons or general weapons flowing out of syria like those surface-to-air missiles and stuff? :

      • Andy

        I took it to mean that the Israelies would retaliate in kind.

        • David Powell
    • Menzie

      Yeah I found a few spelling and grammar mistakes, normally I dont find them here. I hope it is not a trend. Oh maybe my 9 year old nephew is on the staff. :)

  • Civil Service Pawn

    Sounds like a good testing ground for the M.O.P.

    • steve

      It seems as if the Western World keeps “UNDERESTIMATING the capabilities of the Moslem World, as far as Technial abitliues, and the the support, they are receiving from all over this world, with their OIL MONEY as payment for services rendered???
      It is no longer all camels and desert scens folks….. Those wrap around rags on their heads, is to keep them cool not stupid….

  • Lance

    Its going to happen its dumb of the media to be shocked the Alawites are losing and may resort to WMDs to turn the tide but any nation would do that against a enemy just as genocidal as they are.

    • Musson

      But – using WMD’s will give Obama the chance he is looking for to get American forces involved.

      • guest

        what are you talking about?

  • BAJ

    What a god awful mess. A case study in no win situations. Really sorry for the noncoms caught in the middle, but we need to steer clear of this party.

  • Kole

    The Middle East needs help. I’m not saying start another war, I mean we need to really try something. Chemical weapon usage is no bueno.

  • Mike

    NATO (and in particular the US) should not get involved. It will end up with a bunch of Jihadists turning against the “imperialist oppressor” (that’s you guys) and a bunch of good service personnel coming home in body bags all for naught.

    The middle east is all fucked up and it’s time to just let them get on and kill each other… be there at the end to help pick up the pieces. Harsh but true.

  • JE McKellar
  • James

    And there I thought it was chemo TRUCKS? I must have been mixing up all these unfounded and unproven allegations in the last years to excuse regime changes.

    But why after all the time Syria would only NOW use chemical weapons “to kill its own civilians” when they have gained the clear upper hand against the foreign armed terrorists and are taking back their country day by day? Couldn’t have murdering Asssad not just have “his own people” all gassed from day one?

    Someone’s spec op’s failed or run out of terrorist and mercenaries willing to die in Syria? Heard after well trained unarmed peaceful demonstrating civilian sniper squads targeted not just Syrian reporter and camera teams documenting the truth, but murdered a several Russian reporter recently either, Russia has sent in their special forces to deal with certain other nations mercenaries and special forces slaughtering and destroying Syrian infrastructure .

  • NeoconBrony

    Obama drew a clear red line on the use of chemical weapons and he will use force to bring down the Assad regime if they do use them. What part of that didn’t these assclowns understand? He has Navy Seal teams and drone fleets that were involved in secret raids on Al-Qaeda at his disposal. Assad is nothing the President but the another target. He will order the military to wipe Assad out with precision the likes of which have never been seen before on earth, mark my words. Does he think he’s safe in his bunker ordering his troops to use chemical weapons remotely? Think again. The US has spies everywhere and they will find him, so he’d better prepare for a storm. The kind of storm that wipes out the pathetic thing this despot calls his life. That boy is dead. Not only does Obama have access to the United States’ black ops forces, he controls our overt forces as well and can unleash the B-2s at any time to wipe Assad off the face of the continent. If only he had stopped to consider the kind of unholy retibution Brarak would unleash upon him if he used chemical weapons, maybe he would have just manned up and killed himself instead. But he couldn’t he didn’t, and now he’s going to pay the price. That boy is dead.

  • charlie g

    do you really believe Obama, will take out the head of state of a foreign country? I think it needs to be done, but wonder if Obama will order it.

    • blight_

      We haven’t taken out a head of state since the Diem brothers, and that didn’t help matters.

      This isn’t like the head of a snake, people.

    • SJE

      Not directly, but that was basically the end result in Libya, just getting the locals to do the final work.

    • NeoconBrony

      Yes I do, if Assad uses chemical weapons in this war, Obama will sh!t fury all over him and he will drown in it.

      • Matt

        Obama will do NOTHING.

  • BlackOwl18E

    I don’t want to get militarily involved in another Arab-Islamic spat in the Middle East. I would much rather sit back and let them settle it themselves. However, I think America will launch airstrikes or use special forces to intervene when/if Assad uses chemical weapons. It’s just the way the American foreign policy mindset works sometimes. We feel the need to go in and fix it.

  • galloglas

    The hell with Syria, it ain’t our floggin’ problem and who cares how the Religion of Peace and the umah of perpetual offended, outrage kills each other.
    It’s their religion, their problem and none of our GD business.

  • Anonymous

    Soooo….which fine analysts came up with this report? Hopefully not the same one’s that said Saddam had WMD.

  • Kim

    You seriously think the Syrian conflict is about religion?

    • SJE

      It is now.

  • david

    Sounds exactly like the lies Powell told to the UN about the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Don’t be fooled a 2nd time guys!

  • So?

    Such sensationalism. Chemical weapons are very ineffective. Given the choice between 500 kg of HE and 500 kg of mustard gas, choose the HE. Always.

  • Has anyone else noticed the people saying “WMD” this time around were the ones who spent the last eight or so years calling George W. Bush every name in the book for believing Saddam had them? Notice no one in the media or “antiwar movement” (Which only makes noise where and when the Democratic officials tell them to) is saying word one about that?

  • Dubz

    I thought I saw the dumbest turds on the internet when I stumbled on the Klans page … but I stand corrected.

    • James

      AMEN

  • Larry

    Idiot people in the West want Assad gone. So what happens to all the innocent Syrian Christians when Assad is gone? Same thing that happened when America got rid of Saddam in Iraq and Mubarak in Egypt. The Muslims go crazy and start killing the Christians. Americans NEVER learn from the past.

    • SJE

      Actually, America does know, and its one reason it has not gotten involved in all the Arab Spring events as an active party, with the exception of Libya. Guess what: Libya has almost no religious minorities. Just cuz some people want to go invade etc does not mean “Americans never learn”

  • Matt

    If I was president I would set up a no fly zone over the rebel areas and be parachuting in m60 tanks, 4 wheelers, javelins, Bell Helos, Explosives, Amphetamines, etc… the whole 9 yards. It would be like the cartoons with so much magical ordinance parachuting in from the sky. Then let the bodies hit the floor. Syria has massive amounts of American and coalition blood on its hands both directly and indirectly over the last 10 years as an Iranian stooge fighting a proxy war against the US and allies in Iraq. Let them kill themselves and give them a few cans of gasoline to speed up the process. I dont care who wins. Just make fun and fair. I’m an American and this is my point of view. I dont care if it hurts your feelings or makes us all look dumb and insensetive. I have more intellegince and knowledge in my sphincter than you do in your brain.

    • Papi1960R

      Very glad your not President.

      • blight_

        I think Matt is simply extending karma to Assad for not keeping their side of things clean during OIF, and letting Al-Anbar turn into a remix of the Ho Chi Minh trail. Though if I understood things correctly, eventually the Syrians did clamp down, and combined with the Sunnis turning on AQ it led to game over.

      • Matt

        Oh Papi its already happening but not so dramatically.

    • tiger

      Matt, You seem to be hitting the Egg Nog too hard.

    • james

      Exactly why a complete moron would never have an office higher than head burger flipper in some isolated shithole.

    • blight_

      Now that I read it again, javelin missiles? Are you serious?!

      I’m trying to imagine how pissed Israel would be with ATGMs floating around in Syria, and likely to go to Lebanon and Hezbollah.

      • Matt

        All these weapons have not only a shelf life but a combat half life; once you drop them in, you forget about them. Trust me, they will use them. There are already ATGMs in Syria from other foreign state actors. Turkey is a weapons pipeline like nothing we have ever seen.

        • blight_

          All it takes is one resupply run from Iran to deliver whatever you give to the Syrian rebels back to the Homeland. They already have TOW and HAWK from the ’80s, and they certainly don’t need more help with new anti-tank gizmos.

  • Papi1960R

    Not an American problem. Syrians gassing Syrians? Sounds like a Syrian problem to me.
    Obama would not give the order to take out a Assad. Before the uprising, Assad was pretty much a model of total control, and as such he was very much a role model for Obama.

  • James

    Simple facts are that Assad stated he would not use WMD’s against his own people. All these falsified reports are jsut trying to set the stage for a hustified intervention. The morons like many posting here lap it up without a second though.
    These same morons also seem to have no idea that the “resistance” has been committing atrocities let right and center and many are fundamentalists with ties to terrorist groups woth no love of the West. We’re going to see so many terrorists coming out of Iraq,Afghanistan,Libya and Syria in the next decade, which will make what has happened so far small potatos.

  • assbestos

    Anybody else notice that this image is cobbled together? Is someone trying to imply the rebels are operating tanks?

    • blight_

      Depends. If the Syrians use a conscription system to keep an artificially bloated military, chances are there must be someone in the rebels with training to perhaps drive an armored vehicle.

      Unless Assad is smart and stacked the deck in armor and air forces with Alawites and Christians and kept the Sunnis in light infantry positions?

      • SJE

        Which is what he does. AF, elite forces etc are predominantly Alawite and other minorities.

    • crackedlenses

      They are probably operating whatever they can capture at this point.

  • markjean59

    just patrol the borders and ONLY let humanitarian aid in and let em kill each other off, problem solved!

  • Real World

    Who cares? The more dead Middle East fools the better- these folks have been killing each other for a thousand years, don’t care about human rights, hate Christians, etc. Worry about things that are important in the US like the School High Drop out rate in schools, no jobs, crime, health care…

  • hoggy

    So just where do you think Iraq’s WMD’s went? They were moved to Syria while all the warnings (which lasted quite awhile before the attack) from the go old USA were given to Sadam H.

  • Andy Indelicato

    THER IS NO REASON THAT THE U.S. SHOULD GET INVOLVED IN ANY OF THE CRAP THAT GOES ON OVER THERE ANYMORE, ITS NOT OUR FIGHT…

  • RAMON

    PLEASE PEOPLE! STOP TALKING ABOUT AMERICA AS IF IT WERE STILL A TRUE NATION. AMERICA IS GONE, IT WAS FORECLOSED BY THE FEDERAL RESERVE BACK IN THE 1930’s, “ITS CALLED THE NEW DEAL.” AMERICA IS A SUBSIDIARY COMMERCIAL CORPORATION OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE, ALONG WITH THE NON EXISTING STATES THAT COMMITTED POLITICAL SUICIDE DURING THE DEPRESSION IN ORDER TO SURVIVE, NOT AS STATES BUT AS SUBSIDIARY COMMERCIAL SLAVES TERRITORIES OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE OWNED SUBSIDIARY CORPORATION AKA THE UNITED STATES. I KNOW YOU WILL BLOCK THIS COMMENT, BECAUSE YOU ARE AFRAID OF THE TRUTH, THERE IS NO KNOWN DEFENSE FOR THE TRUTH, NOT EVEN WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION CAN KILL IT, YOU MAY KILL THE MESSENGER, BUT YOU CAN’T KILL THE MESSAGE. BY BLOCKING THE MESSAGE YOU ARE ACTING LIKE A FRIGHTENED SELF PROTECTING SLAVE.

  • Alex

    This article needs some basic editing. At its current level of grammar and flawed facts, it would be unacceptable for a high school newspaper.

    What is the connection to the tank?

    “That is a not a simply feat for an air force like Syria’s.” What is a “simply feat”?

    When did chemical weapon deployment FROM Israel come into the picture? Are we concerned with Syrian chemical weapons, but fine and dandy with Israel fielding the same?

    C’mon, DT. You can do better than this.

  • Hagan

    I feel more comfortable in Assad running Syria than Al Queda

  • Matt

    Did yall hear outgoing SecDef Panetta today: “I can say one thing and that is that I guarantee that there will be zero American combat troops committed to Syria.” — thats a great message to send. From the highest authority in the US govt. Out of nowhere, just on his own volition I guess. “We will not commit to war even after our red line has been crossed” “We will be humiliated” This administration is only words except for the low hanging fruit. In fact regarding nations such as Iran which have treated us with hostility we are generous and accepting but with allies such as Egypt “Mubarak must go” just pure stupidity… The threat of the US military or another nation crossing a red line means literally nothing. The US will not act. This is a troubling statement for the sec def to make in public.

  • De todas formas me parece una chapuza igual.Sí te libras de
    un jugador problemático y sacando algo de dinero cuando se iba
    ir gratis.