Head of development of chemical weapons for Assad killed in Syria, media

Head of development of chemical weapons for Assad killed in Syria, media

Head of development of chemical weapons for Assad killed in Syria, media

An Israeli government spokesman declined to comment on the allegations.

According to The New York Times, an unnamed Middle Eastern intelligence official said Mossad, the Israeli spy agency, was responsible for the bombing.

Aziz Azbar, head of the Scientific Research and Studies Center in Masyaf, also known by its French acronym "CERS", was killed in a auto bombing incident alongside his driver on Saturday night, Syrian Al-Watan newspaper reported Saturday night.

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It's believed that the deceased had close ties with Al-Assad as well as the Iranian regime and, according to British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the unit being used for chemical weapons development. The SSRC's facility in Masyaf, allegedly involved in the production of non-conventional arms as well as medium- and long-range scud missiles, has been targeted multiple times over the past year by air strikes blamed on Israel. It is reported by The Guardian, citing a Pro-government Syrian newspaper al-Watan, reports the Chronicle.info with reference to UKRINFORM.

In an interview on army radio on Tuesday, Israel's Intelligence and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz welcomed Asbar's "departure from the world".

Israel had carried out more than 100 airstrikes against targets in Syria since 2012 aimed either at Iranian military facilities or at attempts to transfer sophisticated weapons to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia in Lebanon, the report said.

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If the assassination was carried out by Mossad, it was the latest in a long line of Israeli attacks targeting Syrian weapons capabilities and development.

In April 2017, followed the chemical attack on the Syrian rebel held city of Khan Sheikhoun that killed 18 civilians including 5 children, the Trump administration levelled sanctions on 271 CERS workers.

The Iranian presence in Syria - increasingly spreading south towards the Golan Heights - is one of Israel's greatest concerns, as it fears that after the conflict winds down, fighters will turn their energy to Israel.

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