World News

Blast kills scientist at Syrian chemical weapons center

Blast kills scientist at Syrian chemical weapons center

Asbar headed the Syrian Scientific Research Centre in Masyaf, Hama province, which the U.S. claimed was developing sarin gas used by the Syrian regime.

The director of a Syrian research facility that Western countries say was part of a chemical weapons programme has been killed after his auto was blown up, the pro-Syrian government newspaper al-Watan has said.

Aziz Asber, director of the Syrian Scientific Research Centre, died near the city of Homs when explosives planted in his vehicle went off, pro-regime newspaper Al-Watan reported Sunday.

The pro-regime Al Watan newspaper confirmed the killing.

Aziz Asber was the head of a facility belonging to the government's Syrian Scientific Research Centre.

More news: Malaysia's former PM Najib questioned ahead of pre-trial hearing

The claim was denied by the government, which said it had no chemical weapons since 2013, despite several instances of the gas being used.

According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Azbar had close ties to Syrian President Bashar Assad and to the Iranian regime.

The Masyaf research centre was targeted in Israeli airstrikes last month and in September past year, the Britain-based monitoring group said. At the time an Israeli military spokesperson declined to comment on the report. Asbar was not among the targeted individuals.

In April, the U.S., Britain and France carried out joint airstrikes against the center's Damascus facilities in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack by government forces near the capital. At least 400,000 people have been killed and more than 11 million people displaced in the violence.


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