Published: Fri, September 08, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Israel reportedly strikes Syrian chemical facility

Israel reportedly strikes Syrian chemical facility

Israel attacked a chemical weapons development facility near the city of Al-Maysaf in western Syria overnight Thursday, according to multiple reports on Twitter.

The attack came from Lebanese airspace. The United Nations has repeatedly stated that Israel's occupation of the Golan Heights is illegal, calling for it to be returned to Syria.

Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), has quoted a statement issued by General Command of the Army and Armed Forces affirming that the Israeli warplanes fired several rockets from the Lebanese airspace at 02.42 am on Thursday. The center is used to develop missiles as well as chemical weapons.

- A huge explosion that sent a fireball into the sky near the Damascus global airport in April was blamed by Syrian state media on an Israeli missile strike.

The SSRC is promoted as a civilian research institute by the Syrian government but the United States accuses the agency of focusing on the development of non-conventional weapons and the means to deliver them.

Amos Yadlin, a former head of the IDF's Military Intelligence tweeted that the "facility at Masyaf produces chemical weapons and and barrel bombs that have killed thousands of Syrian civilians".

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While the IDF does not comment on foreign reports, it would not be the first time Israeli jets have hit Assad regime and Hezbollah targets in Syria.

Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad is meant to have destroyed all chemical weapons under a deal agreed with the worldwide community in 2013. Such a strike is "exceptional", he said, and shows that "Israel won't allow the stockpiling and production of strategic arms".

"Weapons systems have been transferred from this organisation (the Scientific Studies and Research Centre) into the hands of Hezbollah during the years", he said.

The statement claimed the attack would embolden "terrorists" in Syria fighting the government.

He added in a phone conversation with journalists that Israel was attempting to curb the actions of the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah and Iran in Syria. The director of the Israeli National Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Bureau in 2010 called for the destruction of the centre, alleging it had provided weapons to Hezbollah and Hamas.

Back in April, President Trump placed sanctions on the facility's employees after Syrian rebels used chemical weapons to attack civilians.

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