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Tuesday, July 11, 2017
MEMRI: Further Reporting By Syrian Opposition Website On Long-Range Missile Facility Near Baniyas: It Is Making Iranian Fateh-110 Missiles

MEMRI July 11, 2017 Special Dispatch No.7004
Further Reporting By Syrian Opposition Website On Long-Range Missile
Facility Near Baniyas: It Is Making Iranian Fateh-110 Missiles

Recently, the Syrian opposition website Zamanalwsl.net has published several
articles, of uncertain credibility, about a new facility manufacturing
long-range missiles in Wadi Jahannam, between Baniyas and Hama, Syria that
is subordinate to the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center. The
Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) has been identified by
the U.S. Treasury Department as "the Syrian government agency responsible
for developing and producing non-conventional weapons and the means to
deliver them." [1]

In Zamanalwsl.net's first report, on June 28, 2017, it stated that this new
facility had been constructed in Wadi Jahannam and that it is under direct
Iranian oversight. According to that report, Syrian President Bashar
Al-Assad recently visited the facility, meeting with Iranian and Syrian
experts there (see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6984, Syrian Opposition
Website: Assad Visited New Long-Range Missile Facility Near Baniyas, June
29, 2017).

On July 10, 2017, Zamanalwsl.net published another report on the facility,
titled "What Are Russia And [North] Korea Doing There?" The article included
what it said were exclusive photos of the Wadi Jahannam facility. According
to this report, the facility is producing long-range missiles as well as
M600 ballistic missiles, which are a Syrian version of the Iranian Fateh 110
missile. It added that this facility has a branch in western Hama province
for producing chemicals, and that that there is a Russian military base in
the region, where North Korean officers once served.

The following is the translation of the main points of the July 10, 2017
report by Zamanalwsl.net:

Zamanalwsl.net stated that it had "received exclusive photos of the Assad
regime's scientific research center in the Wadi Jahannam region that is
[administratively] in the rural area of Tartus. The new photos support this
website's previous report regarding the center where Bashar [Al-Assad] paid
a secret visit that was disguised as a public and documented tour of a visit
to several homes [of his supporters] in the rural region of Hama...

"This is a facility for the development and manufacture of long-range
missiles and M600 ballistic missiles the [latter is] the secret name given
by the science center [to these missiles, which are manufactured according
to] the model of the Iranian Fateh 110 missile.

"The sources [cited in the report] indicated that the center has a branch in
Deir Shamil [in western Hama province] where there is a base of the Fourth
Division [of the Syrian army under the command of Maher Al-Assad, brother of
Bashar]. [At this branch,] chemicals are produced and stored in the hillside
adjacent to an underground road. According to the sources, Brig.-Gen.
Ghassan Abbas[2] is the director of the branch, under the direct command of
Salim Ta'mah, deputy director of the Scientific Studies and Research Center
(SSRC). The sources expect that the construction of [the branch of the SSRC]
will be finished by year's end."

Photo from the report: "Scientific Studies and Research Center secret new
report. Syria, rural region of Baniyas, Wadi Jahannam."

The facility from another angle

The report also noted that in September 2015, Zamanalwsl.net had reported on
a Russian military base near the village of Ka'ib[3] in the Baniyas rural
region, and that the report had included statements by "a former soldier at
the High Center for Scientific Research [i.e. the SSRC]" referred to as
"Ayman Al-Thakil" who had served at that base in 1999. The soldier had said
that "Russian and North Korean officers and soldiers" had served there and
that during his time there "large trucks with equipment covered with wooden
beams" had arrived at the base. The Syrian soldiers' job, he said, was to
dismantle the wood, and then the Russians and the North Koreans would, under
heavy [Syrian] Air Force Intelligence [SAFI] guard, transfer the equipment
to other trucks and cover it with fabric. He added that Syrian military
service at that base was surrounded by secrecy; Syrian soldiers who served
there were prohibited from leaving the country for a period of five years
after ending their service there, and were prohibited from even mentioning
where they had served for 15 years.[4]

[1] Treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl0701.aspx.

[2] Syrian Brig.-Gen Ghassan Abbas is director of a branch of the Scientific
Studies and Research Center that is affiliated with chemical weapons
logistics and was designated and sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department
on January 12, 2017 pursuant to E.O.13382, which targets proliferators of
weapons of mass destruction and their supporters.

[3] The village Ka'ib does not appear in maps of area, what does appear is
the village of Ka'ibiye-Farash.

[4] Zamanalwsl.net, September 18, 2015.

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Materials may only be cited with proper attribution.

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