Syrian business tycoon Firas Tlass said that certain areas in Syria are completely under Iranian or Hizbullah control, and that President Bashar Al-Assad does not know what is happening in those areas. He made these remarks on Al-Arabiya Network (Saudi Arabia) in an interview that aired on March 24, 2021 and on March 25, 2021. Tlass said that the areas controlled by Iran are used to bring in weapons and supplies to Hizbullah, as part of food and equipment shipments to Iranian militias active in Syria. Tlass also said that weapons and advanced missiles parts are hidden in vegetable trucks and then transferred into Hizbullah-controlled territories in southern Syria and Lebanon. He said that Iran now has complete control over the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, charged with creating biological and chemical weapons. Firas Tlass is the son of former Syrian Minister of Defense Mustafa Tlass.
Firas Tlass: "There are areas in Syria that are controlled by Iranian officers. Al-Assad does not know and does not want to know [what goes on there]. There are some areas in the desert... The area between Al-Qusayr and the Syria – Lebanon border is under the complete control of Hizbullah. Hama airport is under complete Iranian control.
"Planes from Iran land there. It is a small military airport. Apparently, they bring food and equipment to the Iranian militias. The planes stop at the end of the airport. The Syrians in Hama even know the exact spot where the planes stop. The weapons are transported in fruit and vegetable refrigerators. From the end of the tarmac the weapons are transported on to a dirt road that was prepared especially for this purpose.
"The shipment reaches the Masyaf road and from there, to Tartous, and then directly to Lebanon on the highway. If [these shipments] are known, they can be tracked by satellite, but if they do not know, they cannot. Two hundred trucks pass there every day, and they cannot detect five vegetable trucks loaded with weapons and advanced missile parts, and the [shipments] reach Hizbullah, be it in Lebanon or in Syria, because Hizbullah is now present on the ground in southern Syria. Its missile units are present on the ground in southern Syria.
"The IRGC has large offices at Damascus airport, and they know about everything that is going on there.
"Bashar Al-Assad does not know what goes on in the Jamraya [research center], even though he visited the research enter before he became president. This research center is a significant component of the Syrian regime, because of the chemical weapons, the anthrax, and missile development. When Hafez Al-Assad established this research center, he was striving for a balance of terror with Israel. The research center was developing these [chemical weapons]. They did a brilliant job, I'm sad to say. The brightest Syrian scientists... They all got their training in France and in the West. Ther was cooperation with Germany and North Korea. Iran entered the fray only lately. The Syrian Scientific Studies Research Center..."
Interviewer: "Has Iran made its way into that research center?"
Tlass: "Yes, Iran is there and is involved with everything. It wasn't so in the past. There was no Iranian involvement there before 2014—2015. In my opinoin, the Iranians took over the research center so that the Russians would not take it over instead — particularly following the joke of 'handling over the chemical weapons.' Of course only a small part of the chemical weapons was handed over, and the rest was redistributed among many depots. Of course the Syrian chemical weapons program is operational once again, the laboratories are operational again..."
Interviewer: "Chemical weapons are produced at the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center?"