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Israeli special forces continue to operate inside Syria to track the country’s nonconventional weapons as well as any such weapons that may be in possession of the rebels, according to informed Middle Eastern intelligence sources.

The sources confirmed a London Sunday Times report from last month that also noted Israeli special forces were on the ground in Syria working as spotters to track the regime’s stocks of chemical and biological weapons.

“For years we’ve known the exact location of Syria’s chemical and biological munitions,” an Israeli source told the Times last month. “But in the past week we’ve got signs that munitions have been moved to new locations.”

Last month, WND reported Iran had passed nonconventional weapons to Syria for possible use in the event the regime of Bashar al-Assad faces imminent collapse, according to knowledgeable Middle Eastern security officials.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta three weeks ago told reporters the Syrian government seems to have slowed any preparations for the possible use of chemical weapons against so-called rebels fighting Assad’s forces.

“At this point the intelligence has really kind of leveled off,” Panetta said. “We haven’t seen anything new indicating any aggressive steps to move forward in that way.”

U.S. officials had announced the previous week there was evidence indicating Syrian forces had begun preparing sarin gas, a nerve agent, for possible use in bombs.

Syria vehemently denied the chemical weapons charges and instead accused the U.S.-backed rebels of preparing chemical weapons themselves for use against civilians.

The Syrian foreign ministry released a statement that terrorist groups “may resort to using chemical weapons against the Syrian people … after having gained control of a toxic chlorine factory” east of Aleppo.

Last month, members of the al-Qaida-affiliated Al-Nusra, which makes up the top leadership of the rebel fighters, reportedly seized control of the Syrian-Saudi Chemicals Company factory near the Syrian town of Safira.

A YouTube video even purportedly showed Syrian rebels testing chemical weapons, although the veracity of the video is in question.

Syria “is defending its people against terrorism, which is supported by known countries, with the United States at the forefront,” Syria’s foreign ministry said.

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