Researcher linked to Syria’s Chemical weapons program killed in blast.
A research director at a military agency linked to Syria’s chemical weapons program was assassinated, a newspaper close to the Syrian government reported Sunday.
The pro-government al-Watan newspaper reported on its website that Aziz Esber, of the Scientific Studies and Research Center, died in a blast targeting his car Saturday night, in Syria’s Hama province.
It said Israel was suspected of carrying out the attack. There was no comment from Israeli or Syrian government officials.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the Syria war through local contacts, also reported Esber’s death. It said he specialized in developing rocket systems at the center’s Masyaf facility in Hama. Esber’s driver was also killed in the blast, according to al-Watan and the Observatory.
An insurgent group calling itself the Abu Amara Brigades claimed responsibility for the operation. The group has previously claimed attacks targeting officials and militia commanders inside government territory.
Western and Israeli intelligence agencies have long linked the SSRC to Syria’s chemical weapons program.
The Scientific Studies and Research Center was bombed in April by the U.S and U.K.