Images depict Syrian chemical weapons site

Feb. 18, 2009 at 6:13 PM

LONDON, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- A review of satellite imagery suggests activity at a site in northwest Syria is consistent with features associated with a chemical weapons site, analysts say.

A report from Jane's Intelligence Review says commercial satellite imagery of a site in Syria, al-Safir, depicts what are thought to be the defining characteristics of not only chemical weapons manufacturing, but also of heavy construction activity near a missile base.

"Construction at the al-Safir facility appears to be the most significant chemical weapons production, storage and weaponization site in Syria," said Jane's Christian Le Miere.

The Israeli air force in 2007 struck a facility near al-Kibar Syria, which intelligence officials claim was a nuclear reactor of North Korean design under construction since 2001.

The review by Jane's said the al-Safir site appeared to be a military facility based on the number of checkpoints and protective forces surrounding the area.

"Its presence indicates Syria's desire to develop unconventional weapons either to act as a deterrent to conflict with Israel or as a force enhancer should any conflict ensue," said Le Miere.

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