Alleged chemical weapons lab destroyed in air strike

Israeli air strikes allegedly destroyed a military base and a defense laboratory in Syria believed by Western intelligence to be used in the development of chemical weapons and supported by Iran.

This is the fifth such strike in two weeks, according to Syrian media. At least 14 Iranian and Iraqi fighters and allied militiamen were killed, according to the war monitor, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Syrian news agency, SANA, reported that the scientific research center in Aleppo was targeted in the strikes. A separate strike, also on Monday, destroyed arms warehouses that were adjacent to Syrian defense laboratories, connected to Iran.

The Israel Defense Forces did not comment on the strikes. But SANA, the official Syrian news outlet, said several of the incoming missiles were intercepted by the country’s air defenses — a claim laughed off by security analysts as an exaggeration, if not an outright lie.

“Syrian air defenses intercepted an Israeli aggression on a research center in Aleppo province,” SANA reported.

Nevertheless, last week Israel’s Defense Minister Naftali Bennett appeared to confirm Israel’s involvement in recent attacks against pro-Iranian forces in Syria. Israel has long held that Iran’s presence in Syria is a threat to Israel which shares a border with Syria. Many of the unclaimed attacks in the area have targeted Iranian military and Hezbollah outposts.

Though Israeli officials generally refrain from taking responsibility for specific strikes in Syria, they have acknowledged conducting hundreds to thousands of raids in the country since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

Meanwhile, after a long two months of coronavirus-induced quiet, Palestinians fired a rocket from the Gaza Strip at Israel on Tuesday. The rocket landed in an open field and caused no damage. Israel fired at three military posts of the Hamas terror group in response.

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