Israel Air Force bombs Syrian “military research” center

Area that was attached by IAF jets

What was this military center that the Israeli Air Force apparently bombed last night? Was it connected to Syria’s huge chemical weapons stores? Probably.

Israeli warplanes attacked a military research center in Damascus province at dawn on Wednesday, Syria’s military command said, denying reports that the planes had struck a convoy carrying weapons from Syria to Lebanon.

Local residents and experts claim the target was a chemical weapons production center.

Two people were killed and five wounded in the attack on the site in Jamraya, which Syria described as one of a number of “scientific research centers aimed at raising the level of resistance and self-defense”.

The building was destroyed, the military command said in a statement carried by state media.

It said the planes crossed into Syria below the radar level, just north of Mount Hermon, and returned the same way.

The Jamraya area contains many military facilities as well as what is likely a chemical weapons production and storage site. The area also houses training camps for Hezbollah combatants who are learning to operate advanced Russian weapons systems.

It was further noted that the attack occurred after terrorist groups tried and failed to take control of the site several times.

The terrorists’ attempt to take control of the site must have been the trigger for the Israeli attack, to prevent a successful terrorist takeover.

Residents near Damascus had previously told AFP that missiles had struck a military site for unconventional weapons on Tuesday at 11:30 pm.

According to them, the center, which is located in Al-Hameh, about fifteen kilometers north-west of Damascus, was hit by six missiles that were partially destroyed, causing a fire and killing at least two people.

There is some confusion whether an arms convoy was also struck:

Earlier on Wednesday AP quoted US and regional officials as saying that Israel conducted an airstrike inside Lebanon, hitting a convoy of trucks.

The officials said Israel had been planning in the days leading up to the airstrike to hit a shipment of weapons bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon. They said the shipment included sophisticated, Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles, which would be strategically “game-changing” in the hands of Hezbollah.

Lebanese sources also commented on the reports and stressed that there had been no strike inside Lebanese territory. An eye witness from a border town said that there had been no explosion.

The Times of Israel reports that it is doubtful that the IAF struck actual chemical weapons because of the dangers of toxic fallout.

Israeli war planes that reportedly struck near the Lebanese border with Syria would either have bombed a convoy of conventional weapons or the nontoxic component of a chemical agent, according to a leading Israeli expert on chemical weapons.

“The chances that someone was able to bomb a chemical weapons convoy without causing significant environmental damage is very small,” Lt. Col. (res) Dr. Dany Shoham, a BESA Center fellow and expert on chemical and biological weapons in the Middle East, told The Times of Israel.

According to officials quoted by AP, the alleged airstrike had in fact hit a truck convoy carrying anti-aircraft missiles bound for the Lebanese Islamist militia Hezbollah.

Yisrael Hayom reports on the diplomatic and security implications for Israel of Syria’s chemical weapons falling into the wrong hands:

Vice premier Silvan Shalom said on Sunday that any sign that Syria’s grip on its chemical weapons was slipping, as President Bashar al-Assad fights rebels trying to overthrow him, could trigger Israeli intervention.

Israeli sources said on Tuesday that Syria’s advanced conventional weapons would represent as much of a threat to Israel as its chemical arms should they fall into the hands of Syrian rebel forces or Hezbollah guerrillas based in Lebanon.

[...]

Israel Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel expressed his worries on Tuesday about the fate of the Syrian chemical arsenal. “There have been tectonic movements in Syria shifting it toward collapse.” Eshel said at the Israeli Air Force Center in Herziliya. “There is a massive weapons arsenal in Syria, some of which is very advanced and some that is unconventional. All that [weaponry] could find its way to our borders.”

“Governments are falling apart and that’s bringing a resurgence of terrorist activity on our borders the likes of which we haven’t seen for decades. We need to deal with a very wide scope of threats, as of today we are faced with both the conventional and unconventional, from the knife to the nuclear weapon, both near and far,” he said.

With Syria’s arsenal potentially falling to rebel hands, Eshel warned that Israel could face a much broader threat. “We could be faced with a much wider arsenal, advanced Western weaponry, with weapons from the east and locally produced arms.”

Israel fears that should such weapons fall into the hands of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon, this could dent the Jewish state’s superiority in any future confrontation.

[...]

But Eshel said the air force was involved in what he termed “a campaign between wars,” working with Israeli intelligence agencies in often covert missions. He did not elaborate other than to blame arch-adversary Iran for the lion’s share of weapons supplies to Israel’s regional enemies.

Sudan, a conduit for arms to the Palestinian Gaza Strip via Egypt, blamed Israel for an attack last October on a weapons factory in Khartoum. Israel also operates regularly in the skies over Lebanon.

[...]

Meanwhile, Russia said it will take control of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile if Israel promises not to attack Syria, “until it gets a green light from Moscow and Washington”, according to a report by Saudi news outlet Al-Watan.

If the reports are true, it would not be far fetched to connect it to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent dispatch of his National Security Council Chief Yaakov Amidror to Moscow. The report claims its information is based on a “senior Israeli official.”

Similarly, Israel Hayom tells us that Israel has been repeatedly warning the world about the dangers of Syria’s chemical weapons arriving in the wrong hands, i.e. the Islamist Syrian rebels or even Hezbollah in Lebanon:

Israel continued to warn the world on Monday of the potentially devastating outcome if Syria’s chemical arsenal falls into the hands of rebels, or worse, Hezbollah, as Lebanese media outlets reported that the Lebanese terror group had already obtained some chemical weapons and long range missiles.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who on Sunday met with a delegation from the U.S. House of Representatives led by Rep. Rob Wittman, expressed his concern over the developments in Syria, and said the outcomes facing Israel were “bad, bad and worse.”

[...]

According to Lebanese TV, Hezbollah fighters helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fight the Sunni rebels in Syria have now taken over army bases throughout the country. Hundreds of armed fighters from the Shiite group were seen accompanying personnel from the Syrian military’s unconventional weapons program, as well as taking position inside Syrian bases where chemical weapons were stored.

The Syrian military has been fighting rebels to keep control of the al-Safira compound south of Aleppo, where chemical weapons are produced and stored. Arab media reported that after days of pitched battles the army succeeded in repelling the rebel attack and regaining control of the territory around the base.

[...]

Assad’s peace of mind could be the result of something else. Russia has deployed a sizable naval force for an exercise off the Syrian coast. According to the Institute for National Security Studies, the exercise, which is expected to end on Tuesday, is being presided over by Russia’s military chief.

Tzvi Magen, who compiled the INSS report, did not rule out the possibility that, under the guise of a training exercise, Russia had deployed a large military contingent to a sensitive fighting zone.

If this weren’t so deadly serious it would read like something out of Mad Magazine’s Spy vs. Spy series. In reality this is the stuff of our nightmares.

Trying on a gas mask (archive photo)

The disturbing news from our northern border has triggered another rush by Israeli citizens to purchase or update their gas masks and safety kits:

Postal officials reported a significant increase in demand for gas masks and other protective gear Wednesday, as fears of Syrian chemical weapons being turned against Israel ramped up.

Statistics showed that on Tuesday, almost three times the average number of citizens came to distribution centers across the country to receive gas masks.

Officials from the Israel Postal Company said that over 4,000 masks had been given out Tuesday, up from 1,400 on the days before. The company also stated that in Jerusalem and Beersheba the numbers were especially high, up from less than 400 a day to over 1,000.

As of now, more than 4,700,000 protective gear kits have been distributed countrywide.

And talking of safety, just to make us feel a little more secure, (and as I mentioned a couple of days ago):

Also Sunday, Israel deployed two Iron Dome batteries in the north, at least one of them near Haifa, amid growing fears that Syrian chemical weapons may be turned against the Jewish state.

If you haven’t received or updated your gas mask kits by now, I would highly recommend that you do so as soon as possible. Please G-d we will never need them but better to be safe than sorry.

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19 Responses to Israel Air Force bombs Syrian “military research” center

  1. Aridog says:

    Awwwr right!!

    As they re-group to clean up…hit ‘em again.

    • anneinpt says:

      Heh. I thought you’d like this piece of news. :-).

      Long time no “see”. I hope you’re keeping well.

      • Aridog says:

        I’m fine, Anne…just rather cranky lately due to politics here, so lacking nearly any objectivity of late I’ve just tried to shut up and just read. Since I am writing just now, I repeat…do NOT trust the US leadership, the people yes, but not the messianic fools in Washington DC. We have a government of consummate liars, flat out bold faced prevaricators who will not admit it even when caught outright. The attitude is “what difference does it make now?” “It” being the fact they lied and know we know it…a brief passage of time, due to orchestrated delays, makes their almost acknowledged lies of no consequence.

        • anneinpt says:

          I don’t think you need to worry about us trusting the US leadership. Unfortunately it is only too clear to all of us how much trouble is waiting for us in the near future from your side of the ocean.

          Re Hillary’s statement – I saw it on TV and could not believe my ears. I was actually shouting at the TV, “of COURSE it makes a difference! That’s the whole point!”. And if I, a foreigner feel like that, it must be so much worse for you citizens.

          I’m usually very cynical about politicians’ words, but that statement completely shocked me.

          • Aridog says:

            “What difference does it make now” is the new government wide narrative here …applicable to the entire institution. It works this way: screw up, then delay analysis for a period of time, then assert it not longer matters. The “lie” magnitude can be determined by the amount of emotional outrage expressed when the purveyor of the screw up is challenged. This is also a tactic, similar to “Oh, look … Squirrel” because it allows the respondent to never actually answer the question at hand.

            What you saw Hillary do and say is a perfect example of the tactic and narrative…the question she never did answer (and never will), of course, is why did she, Susan Rice, and President Obama, et al., maintain the “protest evolved violence” meme throughout 14 September thru 16 September at a minimum? President Obama also gave a fine example of the tactic & narrative with his emotional outrage that Susan rice was questioned at all.

            I believe this evolution is an existential threat to the United States. We’ve just made a consummate liar and traitor Secretary of State, and we’re about to make a professional dawdler, know ditherer and parser, Secretary of Defense….and set about gutting our military if my guess is half right.

            The main thrust of the “new U. S. narrative” is this:

            “We in executive government can break the law, make up laws, and do any damn thing we please..and even if we get caught it no longer makes a difference, because we did it in the first place.”

            Understand that and you can figure a way to deal with the USA of today and the future.

            • Debby says:

              I agree, this is the sad truth of the state of affairs in America… and although there is no direct correlation between our struggles and the struggles of Israel, I can’t help but think that America has long been the primary supporter of Israel on an international level and I am personally alarmed that we may slip quickly from this commitment with what I’m seeing come out of Washington. Hillary Clinton sure is a piece of work; both of the Clintons are!

              • Aridog says:

                Among the saddest truths for the USA is the fundamental collapse of a three part government. Congress no longer budgets or feels a need to do so, although it is the primary function assigned Congress by the Constitution. The Supreme Court no longer rules on Constitutionality of laws as written.

                This circumstance adversely effects everyone who deals with the United States, both citizen and foreign. You must understand something potentially existential to you: Think about this … what exactly is there to stop the Executive Branch of the US government from executing you by drone strike if it decides you are an impediment to said executive’s objectives. There is no reporting of drone strikes, just fabricated publicity when one is supposed successful in killing an “enemy threat.” There is no report of the mistakes, misses and collateral damages. The is no published order of battle for drone strikes…they just happen.

                Example of US official duplicity and treachery: What happened to the doctor who lead us to him? He was neatly allowed to be arrested, charged, tried, and convicted by Pakistan, for treason, and sentenced to 30 years in prison..all within a couple months. Sort of takes him away from any 3rd party unbiased interviewing, eh?

                Lesson: Do NOT be NEXT.

                • Aridog says:

                  In 2nd to last paragraph…”Him” is Osama Bin Laden. Editing error on my part.

                • anneinpt says:

                  Even though none of this is news to me, when it’s listed like that it really is very scary. How can any of this be fixed? Or do we have to wait for a new administration in 4 years time?

                  When you write: “There is no published order of battle for drone strikes…they just happen.” -
                  To be fair, does any army publish such an order of battle? Isn’t it supposed to be secret? Or am I misunderstanding something here?

                  A question that’s been bugging me: why did the US agree to the Pakistani doctor being arrested and sentenced? Why was he not spirited to safety after he risked his life for the US?

                  • Aridog says:

                    To be fair, does any army publish such an order of battle?

                    Not prior to a battle, of course not…but usually soon after, or relatively soon, the US Army does…witness Brigadier General S.L.A. Marshal’s career (among several others) with the US Army in WWII through Vietnam…as the Army historian. Post action orders of battle are published in order to teach new soldiers what has worked …a semi-recent instance was was the record of the “Battle of 73 Easting” during the initial Iraq War in 1991.

                    No orders of battle are published by the US government for drone strikes…but fabricated propaganda is formulated and put out instead. And they never will be from what I can tell so far. Most Americans don’t have a clue about the Pakistani doctor precisely because there is no longer any transparency….AND, he no longer served a purpose, so was expendable.

                    I repeat…DO NOT TRUST THIS CURRENT U.S. GOVERNMENT. I certainly do not trust it. For those U. S. military people who DO support you (and there are many)…they are doing so at risk of their careers. With this 2nd term of the POTUS I do NOT expect these honorable men and women will fair very well.

              • anneinpt says:

                Debby, you’ve echoed what Aridog has said so often: As Israel goes, so go we. (Or words to that effect).

                I’m really less concerned for Israel (we know how to take care of ourselves, and I believe we have G-d on our side) than I am for America.

                • Debby says:

                  I am concerned for America too… but I believe God is on the side of those who love and honor Him… Israel has a history of turning its heart both toward and away from God, with the resulting blessings and pains that followed, so I am also concerned with what blessings and/or pain may befall Israel and simply hope never to be counted amongst its enemies. It’s amazing when reading the Biblical history of Israel and Israel/Judah, how God would use the evil actions of other countries to punish Israel when the people turned their hearts against Him, but He would still punish the other country too!! To be sure, there is nothing “gray” about the references of promises yet to come that are directed at Israel… For those who would erase Israel, it’s like throwing a fist in God’s face and defying Him to make good on His promises… However, beyond the direct relationship God has demonstrated with Israel, I believe God has a grander relationship with His whole creation (and in particular with those who love and desire after Him), and has such great plans for us all one day… :)

  2. Debby says:

    Hey, Aridog, I think Washington D.C. is not generally the home of messianic anyone but mostly secular humanists (and probably one very high profile incognito muslim). Just saying…

    Hi Anne… thanks for keeping us up-to-date on all that is happening there!

  3. Rob Harris says:

    A very scary situation Israeli people are facing Anne. I hope the IDF/IAF and the Intelligence agencies act wisely in protecting their people, and there is reason to believe they act effectively.

    • anneinpt says:

      Yes, it’s a bit unnerving Rob. The Syrian border has been quiet for decades so this is a rather unpleasant turn of events, if if it is not unexpected given the upheaval in Syria.

      I have a lot of trust in the IDF and IAF, both operationally and intelligence, but they are still only human. I put my main trust in G-d as I think most Israelis do, even those who claim not to be religious. As the old saying goes, there are no atheists in foxholes.

  4. Pingback: Aftermath of the Israeli air strike on Syria’s chemical weapons | Anne's Opinions

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