Israel blamed for airstrike on Iranian chemical weapons research site in Syria


JERUSALEM (JTA) — An airstrike on an Iranian chemical weapons research site in Syria is being blamed on Israel.

The airstrike on Sunday evening was first reported by the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The airstrike took place near Masyaf in northwest Syria.

The Observatory said that “sources confirmed that the explosions were caused by rocket shelling which targeted it as a result of strikes that are believed to be carried out by Israel, and no information was reported yet about the amount of the human losses, where the smoke was seen rising from the area.”

Syria’s official state-run SANA news agency reported that the site suffered only “material losses.” It also said that the site “was targeted by an Israeli aerial aggression in an attempt to cover up for the collapse of terrorist organizations in Daraa and Quneitra,” referring to the recent  surrender of rebels in Syria’s long-running civil war.

The attack came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement on the early morning rescue of civilian humanitarian aid workers in Syria that Israel “will not stop taking action in Syria against Iran’s attempts to establish a military presence there.”

Israel, as is its usual practice, neither confirmed nor denied the airstrikes.

Israel reportedly has carried out dozens of airstrikes on Syria’s army and its allies since 2011.