Photo: Flash90

Israel reportedly hit Syria chemical arms sites

Israel twice struck chemical weapons facilities in Syria over the past 2 years in a mission to prevent the neighboring Arab Republic from renewing chemical weapons production, the Washington Post reported. yesterday.

By Erin Viner

Current and former unnamed intelligence officials from the United States and other Western nations were cited in the article, the accuracy of which was confirmed to Reuters by a person familiar with the operation who declined to be identified by name or nationality.

The US newspaper reported that Israeli Air Force (IAF) jets targeted 3 military targets near the cities of Damascus and Homs linked to Syria’s former chemical weapons program on 8 June, as well as a compound and villa tied to the procurement of a chemical that can be used in nerve agents in March 2020.

There was also no immediate comment from officials in Syria, where the government regime of President Bashar al-Assad denies use of chemical weapons since being pressured to surrender them in 2013.

Repeated investigations by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) found that loyalist government forces used the nerve agent sarin and chlorine barrel bombs on insurgent-held territory in the war-torn country between 2015 and 2018 estimated to have killed or injured thousands.

Israeli officials have voiced concern about the possibility of Syrian chemical weapons falling into the hands of radical Islamist groups fighting in the Syrian Civil War, which erupted in 2011.

While an IDF spokesperson declined to comment on the reports, Israel has repeatedly stated that it will not allow Iran or its terrorist-proxies to entrench themselves in  Syria for use as a launchpad to attack the Jewish State. The IDF has been known to mount frequent attacks against Iranian targets in Syria, where Tehran-backed forces – including the Lebanon-based Hezbollah – have deployed over the last decade in support of Assad’s regime forces against the insurgency.

Syrian state media reported 4 alleged IDF attacks last month, including a strike west of Homs Province that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said killed 5 combatants on 24 November. The London-based SOHR said that 5 other Iran-linked terrorists were killed in near Damascus and 9 pro-government fighters were killed near the T4 airbase in central Syria during separate attacks in October.

“We’re pushing back on the bad forces of this region, day and night. We won’t stop for one second,” said Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett just hours after unidentified aircraft launched a rare strike on Latakia – just 20 km (12 miles) from the main Khmeimim Airbase operated by Assad’s most powerful ally Russia, on 7 December.

“This happens almost daily. In the face of destructive forces, we will continue to act, we will be persistent, and we will not tire,” vowed the Israeli leader,