Syrian media outlets are reporting that Israel attacked and destroyed a missile and chemical weapon development center near Hama. According to the reports, four Israeli planes carried out the airstrike. The site was apparently used by the Syrian government and Tehran.
Watch: The site that was allegedly destroyed by Israeli aircraft
Syrian and Lebanese news outlets reported Thursday morning that Israel destroyed a research center for developing missiles and chemical weapons operated by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad near the city of Hama. Israel has yet to comment on the reports.
According to the reports in Lebanon, the facility was the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, which is used as an Iranian factory that manufactures long-range missiles. The reports claim that four Israeli aircraft infiltrated Syrian airspace via Lebanon and released at least four missiles. Hours after the attack, the Syrian Army announced that two soldiers were killed and that it will retaliate.
Attack in Syria Photo Credit: Channel 2 News
In recent weeks, the Syrian opposition claimed that under the auspices of Tehran, Assad’s regime transferred the factories for missile production from the Aleppo area to the outskirts of Hama. Recent satellite images confirmed Iran’s growing presence in this region of Syria in order to build missile factories.
Attack in Syria (archive) Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News
The facility is apparently connected to a larger project in which the Syrian government, but mainly the Iranians, use the military factories in order to improve their missiles. It is possible that these improvements include the development of non-conventional warheads. The International Atomic Energy Agency previously asked to inspect the facility.
If the reports about Israel being responsible for the attack are accurate, the airstrike would represent a change in Israel’s defense strategy because Hama is located in the northwestern part of Syria. In the past, all attacks carried out by the Israeli Air Force in Syria were against targets located in a more southern part of the country. A few weeks ago, Israel warned that Iran is building missile factories in Syria and Lebanon and Israeli defense officials stated that the growing Iranian presence in the region is a strategic threat to Israel.