Satellite Images Show Syrian Research Center Reportedly Targeted in Israeli Strike

Iran-backed facility could have been used in chemical weapon research, arming Hezbollah, intelligence sources say

Yaniv Kubovich
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Satellite photos released by ImageSat International - ISI, show the results of the attack in Syria on May 4, 2020, attributed to Israel.
Satellite photos released by ImageSat International - ISI, show the results of the attack in Syria on May 4, 2020, attributed to Israel.Credit: ImageSat International – ISI
Yaniv Kubovich

Satellite images released on Thursday by Israeli intelligence firm ImageSat International – ISI show the outcomes of a strike in northern Syria earlier this week attributed to Israel, which reportedly targeted a research center working on developing chemical and biological weapons.

According to the Syrian army, the Monday attack targeted a military base near the town of Safira, in the Aleppo Governorate.

An image from the site taken before the strike shows a structure measuring 85 by 65 meters (279 by 213 feet), which, according to ISI, housed a missile factory. An image from after the strike shows significant damage to the building.

ISI assesses that this building was key to missile manufacturing by the Syrian authorities and may have had special machinery. The intelligence firm said that a strike like the one reported on Monday has the potential to shut down manufacturing at the site.

Syria’s state news agency reported Israeli strikes in the region of Safira, saying air defenses thwarted the missile attack. Contrary to the army’s statement, it did report a research center was targeted.

According to reports in Arab media, the site was used by Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center. It is one of several facilities where Western intelligence and opposition sources suspect Syria is helping Iranian researchers work on developing chemical weapons.

Western intelligence sources also say the research center is part of Iran’s efforts to arm Lebanese group Hezbollah, focusing on improving the precision of Hezbollah’s rockets.