'Mossad behind assassination of Syrian scientist'

Lamar Ellis
August 8, 2018

A senior scientist for the Syrian regime involved in the country's development of weapons was killed along with his driver in a auto explosion in central Syria, activists reported Sunday.

Esbar reportedly led a secret unit called Sector 4 at the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center.

Intelligence official quoted in the New York Times today said that Israel had been tracking Azbar for years, and had wanted to assassinate him over his prominent role in Syria's weapons programme even before the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

Asbar headed the Maysaf research center in Hama, which was hit by Israeli air strikes last month and in September a year ago, the Observatory said.

The Syrian opposition blamed [Saturday's] attack on the Assad regime, claiming [Asbar] was very familiar with Syria's chemical weapons deployment and its use against civilians.

The report said the assassination was part of Israel's campaign of aggression aimed at preventing Syria from rehabilitating its defense capabilities when the crisis in the Arab country comes to an end - with an emphasis on preventing the development of precision weapons.

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His center was the target of Israeli air attacks last month and in September, the Observatory added.

Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz Tuesday welcomed the killing of a leading Syrian weapons scientist but declined to comment on reports his government was behind the fatal bombing.

The rockets were said to be accurate enough to hit Israeli cities from Lebanon or Syria.

Under Israeli law, only the prime minister can authorize assassinations, termed "negative treatment" by Mossad.

Israel has carried out numerous strikes inside Syria since 2017, according to the Observatory, targeting government forces and their allies from Iran and Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah.

"Several strikes on Masyaf have been attributed to Israel in recent years, the last of which was on July 22".

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