This is an update on a post I made back on 03 APR regarding Jabhat Al Nusra being on the verge of taking over the Al Safira base. When I first posted on this particular installation, Al Nusra was within 1.5 km of the location. Well, they've closed the gap after fighting street to street and house to house against the Hezbollah and Republican Guard troops in the area. Hezbollah and the Republican Guard are putting up a stiff resistance, but reinforcements aren't coming. So really, it's a matter of time now.
This isn't just any base either, because it houses a chemical weapons depot, which will make it the second such stockpile that Al Nusra will have seized in the war. They've also taken over a chlorine factory earlier in the year in Aleppo. More importantly, the Al Safira base is one of the biggest production facilities for chemical weapons, like sarin. That's some real nasty shit, 500 x's more toxic than cyanide and deadly in milligram-sized doses. There's even discussion mentioned on what to do, like that 75,000 man force Leon Panetta said would be needed to secure the sites prior to his stepping down as SECDEF. Very disturbing, because this is a fight we really should never have become involved in. But it's too late for that now. Al Nusra will seize the Al Safira base and the chemical weapons stored there. Then they'll likely use them against the regime and possibly against the moderate factions, such as the much weaker FSA. It's enough of a threat to get the IDF to begin issuing out atropine to those moderate factions...
news/worldnews/middleeast/ syria/10022753/ Syria-Al-Qaedas-battle-for-cont rol-of-Assads-chemical-weapons -plant.html
"For among the rebel lines in al-Safira flutters the black flag of the al-Nusra Brigade, the jihadist group that recently declared its allegiance to al-Qaeda. Known for their fighting prowess honed in Iraq, they are now taking the lead in nearly every frontline in the Syrian war, and earlier this month, pushed to within just over a mile of al-Safira, only to for the Syrian troops to regain the ground last week.
Should the tide of battle turn in al-Nusra's favour again, though, there is the possibility of the West's worst-case scenario unfolding - Syria's weapons of mass destruction falling into al-Qaeda's control. More than 500 times as toxic as cyanide and deadly in milligram-sized doses, a single canister of sarin could unleash carnage if released on a Tube network in London or New York.
Such grim possibilities are now uppermost in the minds of Western officials as they try to work out how to prevent Syria's vast chemical stockpiles being unleashed, be it by President Assad on his own people, or by his more extreme opponents on the outside world."
Additional info on the installation: