Source: Syrians With Secret CBW Material On Korean Train That Exploded?
'Source' Notes Syrian Technicians Killed in Yongch'on Train Explosion
JPP20040507000021 Tokyo Sankei Shimbun (Internet version-WWW) in Japanese 07
May 04 Morning Edition
[FBIS Translated Text]
[With thanks to www.mideastweb.org/mewnews1.htm ]
A military source familiar with Korean Peninsula affairs revealed on 6 May
that Syrian technicians were killed in a train explosion incident that
occurred on 22 April in Yongch'on in the northwestern part of the DPRK and
that the damage was especially serious in that section of the train where
the Syrians were aboard, along with large equipment.
The same source noted that although the contents of the equipment are
unknown, DPRK military-related personnel wearing protective suits arrived on
the scene immediately after the explosion and removed debris only from that
section of the train where the Syrian group had been aboard.
Consequently, there is a strong likelihood that the accident occurred when
military materials were being secretly transported between the DPRK and
According to the same source, the technicians aboard the train had been sent
from the Syrian technical research center called Centre d'Etudes et de
Recherche Scientific (CERS). Although CERS was established to promote
science and technology development, it is suspected of playing a major role
in Syria's weapons of mass destruction development program.
The technicians and the cargo were reportedly aboard the same section of the
The same source said it was uncertain whether the cargo was the source of
the explosion or whether it exploded after being set off by an explosion on
another section of the train. The source then said, "The damage to that
section of the train was the most serious," noting that nearly 10 Syrians
and accompanying North Koreans were killed. The bodies of the Syrians were
carried onto and transported home on 1 May by a Syrian aircraft, which had
come to Pyongyang to deliver aid supplies.
Syrian and DPRK medical and military personnel who were involved in
transporting [the Syrians and other victims] were also reportedly wearing
protective suits similar to those worn by the DPRK military personnel who
arrived on the scene immediately after the accident.
The same source said, "The action taken by Syria and the DPRK indicates that
the cargo was top secret matter, which the two countries did not want to
bring out into the open." With regard to the DPRK and Syria, the United
States and other countries have indicated concern that the two countries are
continuing to cooperate in the development of Syria's "Scud-D" missiles, as
well as chemical and biological weapons.
Concerning the cause of the explosion incident, the DPRK has explained that
a train carrying fertilizer containing ammonium nitrate and a railroad tank
carrying petroleum were being shunted, and, in the process, came into
contact with electrical wires, due to carelessness.
[Description of Source: Tokyo Sankei Shimbun (Internet version-WWW) --
Internet version of daily newspaper published by Fuji Sankei Communications