Israel’s Mossad suspected of assassinating Syria weapons chief

Aziz Azbar

NYT spelled it as Absar, the Israeli newspaper called him Abzar while Syrian official agency described him as Isber.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said his agency had been informed about the operation, and that Mossad had been tracking Asbar for a long time.

A senior Syrian rocket scientist blown up by a auto bomb on Saturday was assassinated by the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, according to a new account quoting informed Middle East intelligence sources.

It's believed that the deceased had close ties with Al-Assad as well as the Iranian regime and, according to British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the unit being used for chemical weapons development. There have been no official comments from the Syrian government, with pro-government activists posting photos online of a charred vehicle said to be the scientist's.

Syrian press reports blamed Israel's Mossad intelligence agency for the killing and said Asbar had survived two previous assassination attempts, also by Israeli agents.

Asbar was not among them, perhaps because he was associated with Syria's missile programme rather than the development of chemical weapons, according to the New York Times.

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

In April, missile strikes by the United States, Britain and France destroyed a Syrian Scientific Research Centre facility in Damascus, in response to a suspected poison gas attack.

Israel has sought to avoid direct involvement in the Syrian conflict but acknowledges carrying out dozens of air strikes there to stop what it says are deliveries of advanced weaponry to its Lebanese enemy Hezbollah and other Iran-backed forces.

Early 2017 marked the low point for Bashar Assad in his country's now seven-year-old civil war with his authority confined to just 17 percent of national territory.

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