Syria has moved Scud missiles from a base, and rebels claim they saw trucks carrying the weapons. Reuters reports on Aug. 29 that this may be a precautionary step because President Bashar al-Assad may be concerned about attacks in the area.
Syria has been accused of using chemical weapons on its own people, so the possibility of outside forces getting involved remains. Rebels claim Assad’s forces are moving Scud missiles from a base near the Qalamoun mountains. They state both missiles and launchers are being transported on trucks away from Damascus.
The move is being interpreted as a precautionary step because President Assad may be worried the weapons could be destroyed in an attack. The weapons were covered by tarps, but they were still visible to the rebel forces watching the base.
Assad’s forces are also evacuating Damascus as U.N. chemical weapons experts are seen in the area. The team has been collecting samples to verify claims that Syria is using these types of weapons on its own people. Experts are searching for evidence of sarin and other toxic chemicals in the area. Their goal is simple, “The team’s mandate is to determine only if chemical weapons were used, not who used them.” The United Nations states the team will complete its analysis by Aug. 31 and leave Syria. They are responsible for assembling witness statements, soil samples, weapon fragments and other types of evidence. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will handle the samples and laboratory tests.