[Editor’s note: This assassination by car bomb is likely to have been the work of either the Israelis or the US, as they are the two actors responsible for the use of chemical weapons in Syria by their proxy forces, there has been no use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Army or it’s allies. The purpose of the killing is unclear, but Dr. Asbar is likely to have been one of the most important figures able to identify evidence of use of chemical weapons in Syria and his death will be a major setback to any Syrian efforts to correctly identify residue of chemical weapons use in order to properly treat the victims. Ian]
Report: Syrian Chemical Weapons Chief Killed in Car Bombing
A senior Syrian chemical weapons development scientist was killed Saturday overnight when his car exploded in the city of Masyaf in northwestern Syria, Al-Manar news reported.
According to reports, Dr. Aziz Asbar ran a scientific development center in the city, which was attacked several times before. The blast also killed his personal driver.
Al-Manar, which dubbed Asbar a “patriotic scientist,” reported the explosion occurred minutes after Asbar left his house. He ran the northern bureau for research and science and was considered close to several power players in the Assad regime.
Websites associated with the regime posited the possible assassination was part of an effort intelligence agencies to hinder chemical weapons development in Syria, among them Israel.
Several strikes on Masyaf have been attributed to Israel in recent years, the last of which was on July 22.
The Syrian opposition blamed the attack on the Assad regime, claiming Asbar was very familiar with Syria’s chemical weapons deployment and its use against civilians. Syrian authorities have yet to comment on the matter.
According to U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the center Asbar managed housed a missile warehouse, and opposition forces reported Iranian presence in the region.
It was previously reported the chemical weapons development facility supplied weapons to the Assad army and Lebanon-based Hezbollah.
Al-Manar is a Lebanese satellite television station associated with Hezbollah. It is banned in the United States, France, Germany and Spain.
Last week, Syrian state media reported that air defences had destroyed a “hostile target” west of the capital Damascus.
“Our air defences confronted a hostile target and destroyed it west of Damascus,” the state news agency SANA said, quoting a military source.