Israel Accused Of Striking Alleged Syrian Chemical Weapons Facility
Israeli jets reportedly struck an Iranian-supervised military facility in northwest Syria that in the past allegedly was used to produce chemical weapons including sarin gas. The purported attack came just hours after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vowed to continue actively thwarting any Iranian attempt to entrench itself militarily in Syria; and on the backdrop of the Jewish state’s involvement in the rescue of members of the “White Helmets,” an organization formally known as the Syrian Civil Defense comprised of volunteer first-responders. According to reports, Sunday’s aerial assault targeted a facility belonging to Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center, which the West has long maintained is the central body in the Damascus’ covert chemical arms program. Israel previously has been implicated in strikes targeting related compounds, as part of its stated commitment to preventing the transfer of advanced weaponry to Hizbullah in Lebanon, as well as the establishment of a permanent Iranian foothold in Syria. Meanwhile, Israel and Russia reportedly reached an understanding over the future power structure in southwest Syria; this, as the Syrian army winds down a successful operation to retake rebel-held areas along both the Israeli and Jordanian borders. One widely-cited Washington Post article claimed that President Vladimir Putin has agreed to inhibit Iranian-aligned Shiite fighters, including members of Hizbullah, from operating within 80 kilometers of the frontier. It also suggested that Moscow has given Jerusalem a green-light to continue striking Iranian assets in Syria, in particular tactical missiles and anti-aircraft systems.