Syrian Chemical Weapons Agency Sought Illicit WMD Tech in Germany

Syria, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
President Bashar al-Assad of Syria (Photo: REUTERS)

Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), an agency the US government says builds chemical weapons for the regime of Bashar Assad, made attempts last year to obtain illegal weapons of mass destruction technology in the German state of Baden-Württemberg.

According to an eye-popping section reviewed by The JerusalemPost in the new domestic intelligence report for the German state of Baden-Württemberg, the authorities wrote that “There are indications that the Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) has resumed its procurement activities, including for companies in Baden-Württemberg.”

The intelligence document said that “The SSRC is considered the main carrier of the Syrian weapons of mass destruction program. In one case, laboratory equipment from a company in North Baden was to be procured and forwarded to Syria via Lebanon and China. The German export authorities were able to prevent the delivery.”

The report did not identify the company. Both Syria and Iran seek to procure illicit nuclear, biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction technology in the southern German state, according to the report, because there are scores of hi-tech companies and advanced engineering firms in the state.

The intelligence document said that while “Syria joined the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 2013 and was included in the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) as a members state… there are still unresolved gaps and contradictions with regard to the first Syrian declaration of his chemical weapons inventory.”

In 2017, the US treasury department sanctioned 271 employees of the SSRC “in response to the April 4, 2017 sarin attack on innocent civilians in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria, by the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.“

US treasury wrote that “These 271 SSRC employees have expertise in chemistry and related disciplines and/or have worked in support of SSRC’s chemical weapons program since at least 2012.”

Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said at the time that “These sweeping sanctions target the scientific support center for Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s horrific chemical weapons attack on innocent civilian men, women, and children.  The United States is sending a strong message with this action that we will hold the entire Assad regime accountable for these blatant human rights violations in order to deter the spread of these types of barbaric chemical weapons.”

He added that “We take Syria’s disregard for innocent human life very seriously, and will relentlessly pursue and shut down the financial networks of all individuals involved with the production of chemical weapons used to commit these atrocities.”

The German intelligence report from Baden-Württemberg says Iran’s clerical regime has continued its illicit proliferation activities in the federal republic during 2019. The 181-page Baden-Württemberg state intelligence agency document declares in a section titled “Proliferation” that the states “Iran, Pakistan, North Korea and Syria are still pursuing such efforts. They aim to complete existing arsenals, perfect the range, applicability and effectiveness of their weapons and develop new weapon systems. They try to obtain the necessary products and relevant knowhow, among other things, through illegal procurement efforts in Germany.”

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