Israeli warplanes have reportedly struck a facility in northern Syria where the Assad regime has allegedly been stockpiling chemical weapons.
Israel’s overnight raid targeted the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center complex near Masyaf in Hama Province.
The Assad regime’s army acknowledged the attack, saying two soldiers were killed. It warned against the “dangerous repercussions of this aggressive action to the security and stability of the region”.
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) September 7, 2017
The SSRC has overseen the Assad regime’s chemical weapons program. The regime was supposed to have handed over all stocks after its August 2013 sarin attacks near Damascus that killed at least 1,400 people; however, it has continued to carry out assaults with chlorine and, in April, with sarin on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in northwest Syria.
On Wednesday, a UN investigating team concluded that the regime was responsible for the Khan Sheikhoun attack, which killed at least 92 people and wounded up to 600, and for 26 others.
In 2014 a “senior member of the Syrian opposition”, citing regime security officials, said in 2014 that Assad’s forces were stockpiling chemical substances and missiles with chemical warheads at the Maysaf site. International inspectors were not allowed to vist the complex after the 2013 sarin attacks.
Last April, days after the Khan Sheikhoun killings, the Trump Administration sanctioned hundreds of SSRC employees. US warplanes, in their first attack on the Assad regime in the 78-month conflict, struck the Hama airbase from which the Khan Sheikhoun attack was launched.
Israel has periodically carried out raids inside Syria on regime targets, primarily on warehouses and convoys with weapons which it believes are being sent to the regime’s ally Hezbollah. The Israelis have also killed Hezbollah and Iranian officers and troops, trying to prevent the establishment of a forward position near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.